The sporting week ahead (10/07/11)


Usain Bolt will become pretty familiar with Birmingham next year as the city has been named as Jamaica's official training base ahead of the Olympics. But he has chosen not to get a sneak preview today when the Aviva Grand Prix comes to the Second City. However, no Bolt doesn't mean no lightning because Asafa Powell is signed up. With Phillips Idowu also in town – keep an eye on those tweets – it should be a cracking meet.


Remember the County Championship? It used to trundle on untroubled throughout most of the summer. Now it disappears to make way for its upstart cousin Twenty20 and then sneaks back in almost unnoticed. When last we looked, champions Nottinghamshire were so far behind Durham that a repeat of last year's heroics can already be ruled out. Notts face Somerset, who they pipped to the 2010 title so thrillingly, knowing that a big winwill be essential.


Snooker's World Cup will now be well underway in Bangkok, with England's Mark Selby and Ali Carter doing their best to drum up interest by predicting they will do rather better than their football equivalents managed last year.


The Premier League's annual attempt to spread their tarnished gospel starts in earnest with Liverpool in China and Arsenal in Malaysia. Most interest will be centred on whether Arsène Wenger can persuade 11 players to come with him. And if he succeeds, will they be tempted to sign a more lucrative deal for Kuala Lumpur United?


Such is the level of expectation around Rory McIlroy, people probably expect him to wolf down the Open course at Sandwich in one. Winning successive majors is the toughest of asks, but he knows who to turn to for advice: in 2008, Padraig Harrington did just that, adding the USPGA to his Open crown.


Andrew Strauss will get his first sight of the Indians when he "guests" – since when did that happen in cricket? – for Somerset in the tourists' first match at Taunton.


Nicky Cook challenges Ricky Burns for his WBO super-featherweight world title. With Kevin Mitchell and John Murray also scrapping for the European lightweight title, it's a big fight night for British boxing.

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