WHAT A SUMMER IN STORE FOR CRICKET LOVERS!
There’s a home series ashes to savour in July but first the ICC?Cricket World Cup began on 30th May with venues all over the UK. And this year there’s been a rule change which can only benefit the more fancied teams. Quite simply, all the ten teams play each other in one league rather than the traditional method of Group A v Group B with a danger that one group is significantly stronger than the other. Therefore the dependence upon Duckworth?Lewis or Net Run?Rate is negated somewhat.
Any discussion on the outcome has to start with the world’s number one team – for at least the last two years – and that is England. Not only are they number one, they are also playing at home with patriotic support, they have a batting line-up of enviable make-up, in Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Buttler,?Stokes and Ali!! (Strewth as the Aussies may say) so how can you not fancy them?
The short answer is, they are just too short and a price of 2/1 favourites before a ball is bowled is rather skinny. I have no doubt that come semi-final time their price could only have constricted to 6/4 and who knows the outcome of a one-off.
Far better to back a team with equal support, the world’s best player (Kohli) and a squad equal to, if not better than, England. Because it’s one thing having a plethora of batsmen, but only two bat at any one time, whereas in India they have a bowler who will ravage any line-up in the world and that is Jasprit Bumrah. INDIA’S squad will also contain Sharma, Dhawan, Pandya and Jadeja, and MS?Dhoni and anyone watching the Indian?Premier League over the last couple of months will know how destructive they have been. Their price is 7/2 and I think that is a price well worth taking.
As to the rest, I think?Australia, even with the returning David?Warner and Steve?Smith, will be too fractious, and while Pakistan,?West Indies and?South?Africa will give us many highlights, they are simply not consistent enough. The Black?Cats of New Zealand probably offer a better alternative each way at between 10 and 16/1 dependent on where you shop. An alternative to traditional each way is a India v New Zealand final at 14/1.
In the top batsmen market my three against the field are ROHIT SHARMA at 20/1, QUINTON DE KOCK at 25/1 and DAVID WARNER at 25/1.
Away from cricket, Wimbledon starts on 1st July and therefore is included in this month’s Bernie the Book as the event will already have started by the time you read July’s column.
The time has come for the new order to challenge the establishment and therefore I readily dismiss Rafa, the FedExpress and Mr Grumpy. Whilst Djokovich remains imperious and the most likely winner, my two against the field in any selection (look out for the draw) are STEFANOS TSITSIPAS at 25/1 and KAREN?KHACHANOV at 66/1. Certainly back them when odds are against a more fancied opponent but certainly each way.
And in less than a month we have the highight of the British flat racing season, Royal?Ascot, over five days from 18-22 June. Looking at some of the mouthwatering clashes in May, I can only hope that all horses stand their ground over the next few weeks. But some races are framed already and regular readers should make a note of the following:
CROSS COUNTER 5/1 Ascot Gold Cup
SEA OF CLASS 4/1 Prince of Wales Stakes
CALYX 6/4 Commonwealth?Cup
INVINCIBLE ARMY 6/1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
MUSTASHRY 16/1 Queen?Anne
And so to July with my antepost predictions for the forthcoming football season (what already!) and the Open Golf at Royal?Portrush.?Good punting!