Flower gets England job
Former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Andy Flower was handed responsibility for trying to restore England’s reputation and regain the Ashes on Wednesday after being named as the new team director. Flower was confirmed as England’s head coach at a news conference at Lord’s after impressing the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hierarchy during his spell as interim coach on the difficult recent West Indies tour. The 40-year-old, who played 63 Tests for Zimbabwe and has been an assistant coach with England for the past two years, replaces Peter Moores who was sacked in January after a breakdown in his relationship with former captain Kevin Pietersen. “I’m delighted that Andy Flower has accepted the role of team director with immediate effect,” ECB managing director Hugh Morris said.“As a player, Andy became ranked the No. 1 batsman in the world and the ECB believe he has the vision, drive and ambition to be just as successful in his new post.”
Gremio through to last 16
Gremio of Brazil joined the growing list of clubs to advance to the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday after a 2-0 away win over Universidad de Chile. Defender Leo and striker Maximiliano Lopez scored either side of halftime to give Gremio a victory that clinched top spot in Group 7. Universidad, in second place, still have a chance of qualifying despite the loss. Meanwhile, goal scorer Wilson was sent off moments after equalizing for Sport Recife against fellow Brazilian side Palmeiras during a 1-1 draw. The result moved Sport level with Colo Colo of Chile at the top of Group 1 and lifted Palmeiras to third, above defending champions Liga de Quito on goal difference. In Group 4, Independiente Medellin dealt already qualified Sao Paulo their first loss of the tournament with a 2-1 home win. The three points moved the Colombian side clear in second place in the group, ahead of Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting.
Ireland book World Cup spot
Ireland beat the Netherlands by six wickets in Pretoria on Wednesday to clinch a second consecutive appearance at the World Cup. The Dutch were all out for 222 at the L.C. de Villiers Oval. Captain William Porterfield made 78 and Eoin Morgan 76 as the Irish reached 226-4 with 5.3 overs to spare. Victory moved the Irish to the top of the 2011 World Cup Qualifier Super 8 table with 10 points and beneath them the other seven contenders still have a mathematical chance of filling the three remaining places. United Arab Emirates (UAE) pulled off a shock five-wicket win over Canada, minnows Afghanistan defeated Scotland by 42 runs and Namibia hammered Kenya by 201 runs on a day when the bottom three countries triumphed. Canada remain best placed with eight points, Kenya, the Netherlands and UAE have six each and Namibia, Afghanistan and Scotland four apiece entering the final round of matches.
Gao named China coach
Gao Hongbo was named as China’s new coach yesterday and the youngest man to take the helm in 30 years will need to show experience beyond his age to arrest a slump in form that has led to the sacking of his predecessors. The popular 43-year-old former national striker guided Changchun to the Chinese Super League title in 2007 and his appointment was met with a 60 percent approval rating in an online survey, the Beijing Morning Post said. Previous national coaches have come in for savage abuse from fans and media.