Overseas players to be cut
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Wednesday that counties will only be able to field one overseas player from the 2008 season. "During a consultation process led by ECB deputy chief executive Hugh Morris it became clear that an overwhelming number of counties supported the reduction from two to one overseas player," the ECB said in a statement. Counties will still be able to replace their one registered overseas player with another should he get injured or called up for an overseas tour at short notice, the ECB said. A maximum number of four overseas players will be able to be registered in one season under the new proposals with a minimum three week registration period for each player.
Lara to remain as captain
Brian Lara is set to remain as West Indies captain after issuing a public apology for an outburst against the selectors and pitch conditions after losing the final home test against India last month. Lara criticized the selection policies and preparation of pitches during the four-match series, which the West Indies lost 1-0. The veteran batsman was brought before a West Indies Cricket Board committee, headed by president Ken Gordon, to investigate the matter. The committee met with Lara and asked him to make a public apology, to which he agreed. Lara, in his third term as skipper of the Caribbean side, admitted in his written apology that he "broke the confidence placed in me as West Indies captain by my overreaction." Lara "apologized to all concerned" in his letter of apology, dated July 31. The 37-year-old indicated his willingness to continue as skipper during his letter.
Bazayev takes first stage
Assan Bazayev won the mass sprint on Wednesday to take the first stage of the Tour of Germany. Bazayev, a Kazakh riding for the Astana team, edged Danilo Napolitano of Italy and Erik Zabel of Germany across the line in a stage held in driving rain between Duesseldorf and Bielefeld. The large group of riders, led by Bazayev, needed 4 hours, 43 minutes, 6 seconds to cover the 198.2km. Anton Luengo of Spain and Andreas Matzbacher of Austria made a break 30km after the start but were caught by the field 23km before the finish.
■ Rugby union
England star arrested
England and Bath rugby flyhalf Olly Barkley was arrested after allegedly breaking a man's jaw in a bar fight in Cornwall. Two other men were arrested in the incident, which occurred early on Sunday morning in Newquay. Police said they used tear gas to quell the disturbance. Barkley and the two others were released on bail. One man suffered head and facial injuries, including a fractured jaw, and was treated in hospital. Barkley, 24, has 16 England caps.