By Casey O'Connor
While Peter V’Landys, the NRL and their players dominate the sports pages of most news publications there is plenty happening in the realms of other sports.
Indian international cricketer Suresh Raina has thrown a cat among the pigeons this week in Cricket circles urging India to soften its stance on releasing players to foreign Twenty20 competitions, such as the Big Bash League (BBL). (Of course that would be dependent on a relaxation of the current Australian border restrictions). The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has currently blocked any active male player under its umbrella, regardless of whether they have a national contract or are close to national selection, from joining a franchise outside the Indian Premier League (IPL). Meanwhile Indian captain Virat Kohli says that although he will miss “magical” atmosphere if games are played in empty stadiums during the summer series between Australia and India it would not dampen the competitive side of the matches.
Boris Johnson may have cleaned bowled Australia’s White Ball tour of the UK after the British PM put the brakes on any imminent return for professional sport in the country putting Australia’s upcoming tour in serious doubt.
Meanwhile the Men’s T20 World Cup, set to be played in Australia in October must be on shaky turf.
Cricket Australia could be facing millions of dollars in lost revenue if the Test series against India and the World Cup go ahead in empty stadiums.
Horse Racing seems to be the one sport handling the constraints of this Pandemic best.
With strict rules in place some local riders are benefiting from opportunities that have come their way during the Autumn carnivals. Punters have becoming familiar with the names and talents of some previously over-looked riders especially in South Australia. Under normal circumstances visiting interstate jockeys plunder top rides during the autumn.
Still on the racing scene, the laconic Peter Moody, one of Queensland’s favourite racing sons, made a successful return to the training ranks more than four years after walking away from training. Moody had not saddled up a runner since March 2016 when he won the Group One William Reid Stakes with Flamberge.
It was a much different scene when Shepherd, his first runner since returning to training saluted last Sunday at Ballarat. Fittingly the Moody owned galloper was piloted by Black Caviar’s regular rider Luke Nolen. Ballarat and Shepherd may have been a far cry from Black Caviar and the pomp and fan fare associated with Royal Ascot but I bet there was a lot less pressure and a very deep sense of satisfaction associated with the win.
Punters and racing devotees across Australia are pleased to see this master trainer back where he belongs. It’s one bright spot on a fairly dismal sporting landscape.