No return for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe should not return to the Test arena until it shows it can perform at the required standard, an International Cricket Council committee said on Thursday. The Zimbabwe government withdrew the African country from Test cricket last year although they still take part in one-day internationals and played in this year's World Cup in the Caribbean. "The committee did not support the return of Zimbabwe to Test cricket until such time as the team demonstrates its ability to perform at a standard that does not risk undermining the integrity of Test cricket," the council's statement said.
West Indies call up Samuels
Jamaica batsman Marlon Samuels was summoned to the West Indies cricket squad to replace injured captain Ramnaresh Sarwan on Thursday. Daren Ganga, the vice captain who took over West Indies in the second Test at Headingley after Sarwan damaged his shoulder in the field, was named captain. Samuels has played in 23 Tests for an average of 28 runs. His last Test was a 49-run defeat to India in Jamaica in July last year. He played at the recent World Cup. Without Sarwan, West Indies batted one man short and fell to its worst Test defeat, an innings and 283 runs last Monday. Sarwan was ruled out of the rest of the tour of England and returned home on Wednesday.
Petacchi wins on Tour
Italian Alessandro Petacchi of the Milram team dug deep during a dramatic finale to win the 18th stage of the Tour of Italy on Thursday. Fellow Italian Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas retained the race leader's pink jersey after the 203km mainly flat stage. Petacchi started his sprint for home more than 500m from the line but had the strength to hold off Argentine Maximiliano Richeze, who finished second, and Dane Matti Breschel, who came third. "It was a difficult sprint because the finish was on a slight hill," Petacchi said afterwards. "It's starting to get tough now towards the end of the race but I would like to thank my team-mates who worked hard the whole day. We don't have the entire team and it's not easy to control a race for 200km."
Ranieri quits Parma
Claudio Ranieri quit as coach of Serie A team Parma on Thursday, sparking fresh media reports he was set to take over at Manchester City. "Claudio Ranieri has informed the club of his intention to leave," Parma said on their official Web site. "The club has expressed its thanks for his precious work, culminating in Parma staying in Serie A, and wish him the best success in the future," it said. Reports in England have linked the former Chelsea coach with a return to the Premier League with City, who dismissed Stuart Pearce at the end of the season.
Proposed ban hits Pistorius
Athletics' governing body has proposed a new technical equipment rule that would effectively ban South African amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius from taking part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The 20-year-old from Pretoria has set competitive times in the 100m, 200m and 400m although he had both legs amputated below the knee when less than a year old because of a congenital condition. A former rugby and water-polo player, Pistorius uses high-tech, J-shaped carbon-fibre blades which are fixed to his legs just under the knees. He managed third in the 100m at the 2004 Paralympics in the T44 category.