Harmison still a doubt
England fast bowler Steve Harmison worked out in the Adelaide Oval nets yesterday, a day after a side strain left him out of his team's tour match against South Australia and in doubt for the first Ashes test. England coach Duncan Fletcher said that Harmison, who received a cortisone injection, would need to prove that the injury would not affect his bowling before the first test begins on Thursday. "He's not guaranteed for Brisbane with that problem he's had before," Fletcher said. "So we'll just have to see how this injection goes and what effect it has on him. We're not going to guarantee it, but we're planning, if he's fine tomorrow and it's not as bad as it was, we'll give him a bowl and see how he feels with it."
Clarke added as cover
Batsman Michael Clarke was yesterday added to Australia's squad for next week's first Test as cover for injured Shane Watson. Watson is still to be assessed by Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris but selectors indicated they would not replace him with another allrounder if Watson is ruled out of the Ashes opener. Watson strained his right hamstring while bowling in a domestic one-day game in Perth on Friday and was expected to arrive in Brisbane late yesterday. Cricket Australia said it did not expect to know the severity of Watson's injury until Sunday. Clarke's inclusion indicates Australia's selectors may opt for the extra batsman if they lose the allrounder to bolster the batting line-up. Clarke, 25, played all five Ashes Tests last year, and scored 335 runs at 37.22. He lost his place in the Test team last Australian summer and regained it in Bangladesh in April, although he failed to seal his spot with scores of 19, nine and 23 not out.
TV host goes undercover
Hugh Jackman, one of Australia's best-known film stars, upped the Ashes ante on Friday, unveiling a reality TV series in which an Australian infiltrates the ranks of England's notorious Barmy Army. In the Hollywood film star and producer's first series for Australian television, An Aussie goes Barmy, Jackman dares his British-based best friend to penetrate the British cabal of cricket fanatics on the Ashes tour. In the five-part documentary, starting Nov. 29, Gus Worland, who has known Jackman since childhood, must put his patriotism on the line to find out what makes the English cricket fans tick as a group. Worland, 37, will be decked out in Australia's national colors -- green and gold -- in the midst of thousands of English fans at each Test match. In each episode Worland will join a different faction of English fans, take part in their parties and compete in matches between the Barmy Army and the Fanatics -- Australia's equivalent. However, if England triumphs -- or draws to retain the Ashes -- Worland faces the unpleasant fate of surrendering his allegiance and joining the Barmy Army full-time.
Schembechler passes away
US college football coaching legend Bo Schembechler died of heart failure after collapsing at a television studio in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday. He was 77. Schembechler, who had two heart attacks and suffered from diabetes, had a pacemaker implanted on Oct. 23 after a previous episode at the studio. Born Glenn Schembechler, he won a Michigan school-record 194 games and won or shared 13 Big Ten titles.
Franz Beckenbauer was re-elected for a fifth consecutive term as Bayern Munich president on Friday, receiving 98.2 percent of the vote from 2,500 members attending the club's annual meeting. There were 13 abstentions and 21 votes against the 61-year-old Beckenbauer, who has held the post since 1994 and is unlikely to run again when his fifth term expires in 2009. "Thanks for the faith in me," said Beckenbauer, who was captain of the West Germany team that won the 1974 World Cup and coach when the national side won again in 1990.
MLB teams to bid for Igawa
Kei Igawa became the latest Japanese pitcher put up for bid to US Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. The Hanshin Tigers made Igawa available for posting on Friday, and MLB teams have until 5pm on Nov. 27 to submit offers for the right to negotiate a contract with the 27-year-old left-hander. If his Japanese club accepts the highest bid by Dec. 1, the bidder would then have 30 days to reach a deal with Igawa. He went 14-9 last season with a 2.97 ERA in Japan and struck out 194 to tie for the Central League lead, adding to the strikeout titles he won in 2002 and 2004. Igawa's career mark is 86-60 with a 3.15 ERA. He would have had to play in Japan for three more seasons before he could become a free agent.
Van Gundy fined for remarks
Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was fined US$25,000 by the NBA on Friday for publicly criticizing game referees. Van Gundy complained about the treatment of Chinese center Yao Ming in a story that appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday. He said he was irritated by the way the Rockets' victory at Miami on Nov. 12 was refereed, and also said what was being tolerated inside was both "reckless" and "mayhem." Yao had a cut on his arm after the game, which Van Gundy noted in his comments. "It just irritated me," Van Gundy said. "The whole game irritated me the way he was officiated," he said.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in