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Kauto Star leaves Paul Nicholls" stables to begin new career in dressage

Nicholls saddened after Kauto Star leaves his stables to begin new career in dressage

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UPDATED:

18:47 GMT, 11 December 2012

Paul Nicholls admitted his 'sadness' after Kauto Star's time at his Ditcheat yard came to an abrupt end on Tuesday.

The winner of five King Georges and two Cheltenham Gold Cups had been officially retired in late October and was expected to remain at Manor Farm Stables in Somerset until Boxing Day, when he was due to parade at Kempton.

Owner Clive Smith had announced on Monday that the 12-year-old would be moving away to be prepared by European bronze medalist eventing rider Laura Collett and long-time Great Britain manager and coach Yogi Breisner for a new career in the world of dressage – a decision not popular with Nicholls and his staff.

Leap of faith: Kauto Star has left Nicholls' stables for the final time

Leap of faith: Kauto Star has left Nicholls' stables for the final time

The winner of 19 races for the champion trainer, including four Betfair Chases and two Tingle Creeks, Kauto Star had been with Nicholls for eight years and was invariably ridden by his head lad Clifford Baker.

'It is with great sadness that I have to report that Kauto Star has left the yard for the last time,' Nicholls told his Betfair column.

'It has been no secret that Kauto's future has been a great source of debate since we announced his retirement.

'And, to be brutally honest, this morning I felt the time had finally come for me to take control of the situation, and to start making the decisions.

'Now, I am fully aware that Kauto is Clive's horse and he can do as he wishes, even though I would personally have loved Clifford to have looked after him for the rest of his years.

'But what upset me and my team here is
when Clive announced that he had spoken to experts about the horse's
future – but failed to consult and listen properly to the team that had
looked after him here for the past nine years. That really upset us.'

Crowd favourite: Kauto Star is set to begin a new life in dressage

Crowd favourite: Kauto Star is set to begin a new life in dressage

Nicholls went on: 'So we had a team meeting here this morning. And after listening to everybody involved – there were about six of us in the meeting – I rang up Clive, said I don't want to fall out, but we think it is in the best interests of everybody concerned to take Kauto to Yogi Breisner's this afternoon so that he could start his new career in the dressage field as soon as possible.

'Which we did with the saddest of hearts. But I like to think with a lot of dignity, too. And, yes, there were plenty of tears too. He was a member of the family here at Ditcheat, and we will all miss him so much.

'I would just to like say that it was a privilege for us here at Ditcheat to train the horse. Good luck, old boy. You were the best – and deserve the best.'

Collett, 22, who is an aspiring Olympian based at the Membury Estate in Wiltshire, will be helped by Breisner to assess the gelding's suitability for the discipline in the coming weeks.

She tweeted: 'I feel very privileged and extremely honoured to have been asked to ride Kauto Star. I will be working closely with Yogi to give Kauto Star the best chance of a second career in dressage.'

Members of the Ditcheat team expressed their sadness at the horse's departure, with Nicholls' travelling head girl Donna Blake, tweeting:

'Farewell to our dear Kauto Star, sad day that he is leaving those who genuinely care and respect him. Undeserved.'

Smith is currently abroad, but at a lunch to promote the William Hill King George VI Chase in London on Monday, he had said: 'A lot of very good chasers have gone on to do very well at dressage, like Garrison Savannah and Neptune Collonges and I wanted him to have an interest – he's just too good to be a hack or to be out in a field.

'I wanted him to do something else and he's going to be down at the other side of Lambourn and Laura Collett and Yogi will be working with him. We'll know in a very short time (if it is a possible option).'

I had the best seat in the house, says Nick Compton after watching Alastair Cook masterclass

I had the best seat in the house, says awe-filled Compton after watching Cook masterclass

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 6 December 2012

Nick Compton spoke of the awe he felt batting alongside his record-breaking captain Alastair Cook as the pair put on 165 to kick-start England’s first innings in the third Test at Eden Gardens.

The Somerset batsman was at the other end when Cook became the youngest batsman in Test history to reach 7,000 runs — and again six overs later when he completed his 23rd Test hundred to pass an English landmark that was established before the war by Wally Hammond.

‘Standing out there today and looking up at the board and seeing the stats — 7,000 runs and the youngest ever player to do that — it was quite an amazing moment,’ said Compton.

In awe: Nick Compton (left) was inspired by Alastair Cook's performance (FILE PHOTO)

In awe: Nick Compton (left) was inspired by Alastair Cook's performance (FILE PHOTO)

‘I thought, I’m batting with this guy, and he’s just got another hundred. He’s the all-time leading English century-maker. A lot of players only manage to find their feet at my age, around 28 or 29, but the fact that he’s found his feet much earlier and done it over such a period of time speaks volumes.’

Compton scored his maiden Test half-century before he fell to a questionable leg-before decision by Rod Tucker. But he has now shared four partnerships of at least 50 in five innings with Cook — and some of his captain’s sang froid is evidently rubbing off.

‘Unflappable is a good way to describe him,’ he said. ‘He’s tough. Not a huge amount is said in the middle, but I feel like I’ve got a really good bond with him. Between balls there’s a little look and a little nod that we’re both in it together.

‘I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent out there. For me it’s been easy just to have someone who’s so chilled out at the other end.’

Milestone: Cook became the youngest player to score 7,000 Test runs

Milestone: Cook became the youngest player to score 7,000 Test runs

For Compton, successive scores in this series of nine, 37, 29, 30 not out and now 57 are a reflection of the hard work he put in at the Lord’s indoor nets during the month before departure for India.

After averaging almost 100 during the first-class season, Compton attempted to adjust his game for Indian conditions, facing the spin-bowling machine Merlin on a special turning surface, and using the more conventional bowling machine to prepare for the different angles posed by Zaheer Khan from over and round the wicket.

Asked about his maiden Test fifty, he replied: ‘I’m dead chuffed. It’s easy to say it would have been nice to have gone on, but if you’d asked whether I’d have taken my maiden fifty today, I’d have taken that.’

Boycott: I should be on 23 too!

Geoff Boycott could not resist telling Test Match Special listeners about his own unofficial 23rd century. Boycott scored 157 at The Oval during an England v Rest of the World series in 1970, an innings recognised at first as a legitimate hundred but later disqualified by the ICC. Boycs (Test average 47) also accepted that Wally Hammond (Test average 58) ‘might’ have been a better player!

Pakistan spinner Abdur Rehman fails drug test

Pakistan spinner Rehman failed drug test during Somerset stint

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UPDATED:

21:29 GMT, 2 October 2012


Cannabis test: Pakistan bowler Abdur Rehman

Cannabis test: Pakistan bowler Abdur Rehman

Pakistan's Abdur Rehman faces a ban from cricket after testing positive for cannabis during his recent stint with Somerset.

Sportsmail understands that left-arm spinner Rehman has admitted the offence and any suspension will be at the lower end of the scale – between two and four months – as cannabis does not enhance performance.

The 32-year-old was expected to be at a Sialkot Stallions training camp this week to prepare for their Champions League campaign but failed to turn up.

He is not in the Pakistan squad which qualified for the Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals.

Pakistan beat Australia by 32 runs to pip India on a better scoring rate and face Sri Lanka on Thursday. West Indies play Australia on Friday.

Harry Redknapp at Huish Park

From White Hart Lane to Huish Park… Redknapp embarks on new Bournemouth role

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UPDATED:

14:40 GMT, 8 September 2012

A year ago Harry Redknapp was preparing his Tottenham side for the visit of Liverpool, having just guided them to their first win of the Premier League campaign over Wolves.

Fast forward 12 months and the 65-year-old was at Huish Park on Saturday afternoon, taking in Bournemouth's visit to Yeovil Town for the League One clash at the 5,212 capacity stadium.

A year on: Former Spurs boss Redknapp was at Huish Park on Saturday afternoon (left)

A year on: Former Spurs boss Redknapp was at Huish Park on Saturday afternoon (left)

A year on: Former Spurs boss Redknapp was at Huish Park on Saturday afternoon (left)

Redknapp, who was harshly sacked by Tottenham at the end of last season, was unveiled this week in an 'advisory role' at the Cherries – the club who gave him his managerial break way back in 1983.

The specifics of Redknapp's role are unclear, and he has stated he will only return to management with a Premier League club, but he did travel with the team to Somerset for the clash.

New role: Redknapp watches Bournemouth from the stands at Yeovil; and collecting a manager of the year award while at the Cherries back in 1987 (below)

New role: Redknapp watches Bournemouth from the stands at Yeovil; and collecting a manager of the year award while at the Cherries back in 1987 (below)

New role: Redknapp watches Bournemouth from the stands at Yeovil; and collecting a manager of the year award while at the Cherries back in 1987 (below)

Lancashire relegated from LV County Championship

Lancashire relegated after defeat to Middlesex just one year from winning County Championship

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UPDATED:

17:30 GMT, 7 September 2012

Last year's champions Lancashire slumped to relegation from Division One of the LV County Championship with a 109-run loss at Middlesex.

After victory for Surrey earlier on Friday, the Red Rose needed to reach a victory target of 304 in 39 overs at Lord's to keep their slim hopes of survival alive.

It was a task which proved beyond them as they were bowled out for 194 with former Lancashire player Steven Crook finishing with five for 48.

Class act: Dawid Malan would not budge and scored an impressive 95

Class act: Dawid Malan would not budge and scored an impressive 95

County Cricket blog

Lancashire had hoped to bowl out Middlesex in the afternoon to give themselves realistic victory hopes but the hosts dug in before declaring on 305 for nine at tea.

Dawid Malan top-scored with 95 with captain Chris Rogers scoring 86. Middlesex's win lifted them to second in the table but having completed all their games.

Lancashire looked doomed after the other side threatened with the drop, Surrey, pulled off a 195-run win over third-placed Nottinghamshire across London at the Kia Oval.

Notts began the day needing 347 for victory with all second-innings wickets in hand but collapsed to 151 all out as Surrey captain Gareth Batty took four for 30.

The visitors made a steady start, reaching 54 for one, but the introduction of spin proved their undoing with Kevin Pietersen also claiming two for 24.

Somerset are now well-placed to finish runners-up to champions Warwickshire after leaping up the table with an impressive five-wicket success over Sussex at Hove.

Game over: Middlesex's Gareth Berg (centre) takes the final catch to win the match for Middlesex

Game over: Middlesex's Gareth Berg (centre) takes the final catch to win the match for Middlesex

Down you go: Simon Kerrigan and his Lancashire side have been relegated one year after winning Division One

Down you go: Simon Kerrigan and his Lancashire side have been relegated one year after winning Division One

James Hildreth hit an unbeaten 101 and Peter Trego an explosive 89 not out in an unbroken stand of 168 as Somerset, who lost just one wicket all day, powered to victory at 397 for five.

Alex Barrow (40) was the man to fall as Somerset completed the second-highest successful run chase in their history to move up to second.

The Division Two promotion race is set for a thrilling finish with the top three of Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Kent separated by just six points heading into the final round of games.

Kent put themselves right in the frame with an emphatic win over rivals and long-time leaders Derbyshire at Canterbury.

Darren Stevens and Matt Coles took seven wickets between them as Derbyshire, needing to bat out the day to put themselves within touching distance of promotion, slumped to 181 all out and a 222-run loss.

Only Usman Khawaja (53) offered any resistance for Derbyshire, who despite the defeat still went back to the top of the table, but with rivals breathing down their necks.

Get out of the way! Dawid Malan strikes the ball past Steven Croft on a dismal day for Lancashire

Get out of the way! Dawid Malan strikes the ball past Steven Croft on a dismal day for Lancashire

Hampshire's hopes of promotion were all but ended as they slipped to defeat by 122 runs to Essex at the Ageas Bowl.

Jimmy Adams carried his bat for an unbeaten 139 but it was not enough as his side fell away to 302 all out.

Hopes were alive as Adams put on 160 with Liam Dawson for the fourth wicket but not of their colleagues could muster more than 15.

Reece Topley and Ryan ten Doeschate finished with three wickets apiece.

Warwickshire win County Championship

Just champion! Warwickshire claim first County Championship crown since 2004

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 6 September 2012

The Bears eased to victory by an innings and 202 runs to finish top of the table for the first time since 2004.

Having bowled out Division One's bottom club for just 60 on the opening day, Warwickshire declared at 471 for eight before Worcestershire reached stumps on Wednesday night on 100 for two in their second innings.

The demolition job continued on
Thursday with Warwickshire claiming the eight wickets required to wrap
up the one-sided win shortly after lunch.

Job done: Warwickshire beat rivals Worcestershire to claim the LV County Championship crown

Job done: Warwickshire beat rivals Worcestershire to claim the LV County Championship crown

Only Moeen Ali's unbeaten 72 provided
any resistance to Warwickshire's march towards the title, but when he
ran out of partners his spirited defence was brought to an end.

Chris Wright finished as the pick of
the Warwickshire attack in the second innings, finishing with figures of
four for 65, including all three wickets after lunch.

Warwickshire's nearest challengers Sussex endured a difficult morning at the crease as they lost six wickets before lunch against Somerset at Hove.

Got him: Chris Wright was one to help tidy up the tail for the Bears

Got him: Chris Wright was one to help tidy up the tail for the Bears

Resuming on 186 for two, Sussex lost
centurion Chris Nash (126) with their score on 230, before losing five
more wickets for the addition of just 40 runs to reach the interval on
270 for eight.

Alfonso Thomas did the damage for the
home side, claiming five wickets at the cost of just 64 runs this
morning, including those of Nash and Murray Goodwin (77).

Relegation-battling Lancashire
continued to make inroads into Middlesex's lead at Lord's but victory
appears an unlikely prospect for the Red Rose with just five sessions
left in the match.

At lunch the visitors were on 327 for five in reply to Middlesex's 446, with Ashwell Prince removed on 71.

More to follow…

Resistance: Moeen Ali offered some hope for Worcestershire before he was caught by Richard Johnson

Resistance: Moeen Ali offered some hope for Worcestershire before he was caught by Richard Johnson

Kevin Pietersen scores 163 for Surrey against Somerset

Pietersen sends ECB reminder as he hits 163 for Surrey against Somerset

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UPDATED:

22:05 GMT, 28 August 2012

Timely reminder: Kevin Pietersen celebrates his century

Timely reminder: Kevin Pietersen celebrates his century

Kevin Pietersen took out his England frustrations on Somerset’s bowlers, blasting a superb 163 in the County Championship for Surrey.

While his estranged international team-mates crumbled against South Africa, Pietersen provided a robust reminder — as if it were needed — that his demotion has nothing to do with his batting ability.

In four hours of near mayhem, Pietersen — who has impressed Surrey insiders with his attitude since his return to the domestic arena — thrashed 20 fours and three sixes from 168 balls, scoring more than half the county’s runs in a total of 317. No one else made more than 34.

Somerset’s opening bowler Peter Trego tweeted: ‘After what I’ve just seen, KP and ENG need to kiss and make up, that fella is different gravy and people need to see him on the big stage!’

The innings, which followed his stunning unbeaten 234 against Lancashire at Guildford in July, took place while reports surfaced in Australia that Pietersen has put on hold plans to sign for the Sydney Sixers in the Twenty20 Big Bash League this winter.

With his England future in the balance after he was dropped for sending texts to South African players, Pietersen cannot yet commit to cricket which overlaps with the international schedule.

The England set-up have been tight-lipped about the timing of Pietersen’s meeting with Andrew Strauss, which will decide whether he can be welcomed back into the fold.

Strauss did little to quell talk that he needs more time to consider the matter by belatedly pulling out of Middlesex’s Championship game against Worcester.

Retaining the World Twenty20 crown will be harder without Kevin Pietersen: Paul Newman

Hales looks the part but can he turn it on against spin kings

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 22 August 2012

Let us get one thing straight. It will be a lot harder for England to defend their World Twenty20 crown without Kevin Pietersen in Sri Lanka next month. There is no point us dwelling on that, should things start going wrong.

The dispute that threatens his international future is bigger than that, so we will just have to get along without him.

Alex Hales may have scored 99 in Pietersen’s place in a Twenty20 international against West Indies, and remains an excellent alternative, but it’s a different kettle of fish entirely trying to do what he did at his home Trent Bridge ground on slow sub-continental pitches against top class spinners.

Stepping in: England's Alex Hales hits out

Stepping in: England's Alex Hales hits out

An indication of how tough life will be for England, without their one batsmen who has shown he can be dominant in alien conditions, perhaps came when Hales and Notts came up against Abdur Rehman, one of England’s winter tormentors, playing for Somerset in a CB40 match.

Hales was out lbw for seven to the Pakistan slow left-armer, who went on to take six for 16.

Talking of left-armers, there will be another absentee in Sri Lanka who could prove as sorely missed as Pietersen.

The pinnacle of Ryan Sidebottom’s career was his starring role in England’s World Twenty20 triumph in Barbados two years ago and left-arm seamers in general have been mightily effective in short-form cricket.

Reece Topley showed again that he is very much a left-arm seamer for the near future with his outstanding performances in an otherwise undistinguished England Under 19 World Cup campaign in Australia, but he is not ready yet. The absence of anyone like him or Sidebottom could be costly in Sri Lanka.

Happier days: Kevin Pietersen celebrates after England won the World Twenty20 in 2010

Happier days: Kevin Pietersen celebrates after England won the World Twenty20 in 2010

As for the batting, England have some good options, but there are two omissions that stand out.

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It remains a mystery why Matt Prior cannot be a success in limited-overs cricket and there must have been a temptation to include him, however impressive Craig Kieswetter has been with the bat.

And I thought England would take Alastair Cook as their spare opener, because he has shown in 50-over cricket that he can respond to the different challenges the limited-overs game can throw up.

Cook can succeed in Twenty20, no doubt about that, but England clearly do not want to over-burden a man who will, sooner or later, become their Test captain, too.

None of this is to dismiss England’s chances but it is going to be a very tough assignment. They only need to defeat Afghanistan in one of their two group matches to virtually guarantee progress to the Super Eights, but even they can be dangerous opposition, especially as the shorter game encourages upsets.

Before then England will take on South Africa in five 50-over matches and three Twenty20s to conclude the international season, starting in Cardiff tomorrow, and have another world No 1 ranking to defend.

England have won their last 10 ODIs and will be looking to equal their best ever winning run in Wales.

If they do so they will at least bring a turbulent week to a happy end.

KP makes attempt to put things right

It was Kevin Pietersen who contacted Andrew Strauss late on Monday to ask when they could meet to try to thrash out their problems rather than the other way round.

A small difference, perhaps, but Pietersen at least seems genuinely contrite now and wants to take the initiative on mending the broken relationship that most blocks his England return.

Time to put things right: Kevin Pietersen must apologies to Andrew Strauss

Time to put things right: Kevin Pietersen must apologies to Andrew Strauss

Strauss told him he was going to Spain for a few days and will play for Middlesex at Worcester next Tuesday so any window of opportunity before then will be a small one.

They may meet on Sunday or Monday but it is not certain. When they eventually do, KP has to be totally open about his ‘provocative’ texts and show regret together with a vow that he will change.

Only then will there be any chance of a way back for him.

Tourist misinformation

South Africa may have been brilliant on the pitch to defeat England 2-0, but they have not been so good off it. From the moment Sportsmail revealed the existence of the texts that may cost Pietersen his England career, the South Africans, in the form of manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee, have been disingenuous about the affair.

Firstly Moosajee said the texts were ‘merely banter’ when we knew they were more than that. Then he said that England had not contacted the tourists to ask for help in identifying what was in them when we reported that they had.

Keeping to their side of the story: South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said the text messages were 'banter'

Keeping to their side of the story: South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said the text messages were 'banter'

Andy Flower confirmed on Tuesday that the ECB had indeed sought the tourists’ assistance. And the good doctor said that the texts were not sent to Dale Steyn and AB De Villiers. A question of semantics, perhaps, but they were.

Thank heavens Moosajee doesn’t work for the ECB.

What with all the kerfuffle going on with KP, which has dominated everything, we’ve forgotten all about Jonny Bairstow.

The lad was absolutely brilliant at Lord’s. What an examination of his character! He came through it with flying colours.

Bumble's final word

We now know that this is a fantastic South African attack and if he can come through against them he can play against anything. England may have lost the series but they’ve found a real truly English player here. No doubt about it.

Ravi Bopara returns to action with Essex

Bopara to play for Essex for first time since pulling out of England duty

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 18 August 2012


Back in action: Ravi Bopara will play for England this weekend

Back in action: Ravi Bopara will play for England this weekend

Ravi Bopara is set to return to action for the first time since twice withdrawing from England duty due to 'personal reasons'.

The 27-year-old wrote on his Twitter page this morning that he would play for Essex in their Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Netherlands at Colchester on Sunday.

'Looking forward to getting back to some cricket after a long time. Will be at colchester to play against Netherlands 2moro. buzzing,' he wrote.

Bopara pulled out of England's second Test squad to play South Africa at Headingley last month due to unspecified personal reasons.

The right-hander was due to return a week later for the England Lions but left the team on the morning of the match against Australia A at Old Trafford, saying he was not ready to return.

'I thought I was ready to return to action – but after some consideration, I just feel it's too early,” he said. “So I won't be playing quite yet.'

Sunday's match will be Bopara's first since he made a second-ball duck for Essex in a Twenty20 against Somerset on July 24.

Mark Boucher "may need to have eye removed" after freak injury in tour match

Boucher 'may need to have eye removed' after freak injury in tour match

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UPDATED:

20:52 GMT, 14 July 2012

South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher fears he may require to have his left eye removed as a result of the horrific injury that forced him to retire from international cricket.

Boucher, 35, suffered extensive damage to the eye when a dislodged bail flew into his face while he was standing up to leg-spinner Imran Tahir on day one of South Africa's opening tour match against Somerset last Monday.

Tragic: Mark Boucher receives treatment after sustaining an eye injury

Tragic: Mark Boucher receives treatment after sustaining an eye injury

The injury was complicated by the ball following the bail into his eye, which compounded the severity of the laceration.

A close friend of Boucher's said: 'Even if he keeps the eye, he will see only in black and white. He has already lost 30-40 per cent of the eye and there are no guarantees he will be able to keep the rest of it.'