Amir freed from prison
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir was freed from a British jail on Wednesday after serving half of a six-month sentence for taking part in a spot-fixing scandal that shook the world of cricket last year. The 19-year-old was released early from a young offenders’ institution in Dorset, England, a source who declined to be identified said. Amir was jailed in November after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and paceman Mohammad Asif were found guilty of taking part in the same spot-fixing plot and were jailed for 30 months and one year respectively. The trio were part of a conspiracy to bowl no-balls at pre-arranged times during a Test match against England at Lord’s in August 2010. The players were charged after an undercover reporter with a British newspaper recorded sports agent Mazhar Majeed boasting about how he could arrange for players to rig games for money.
Wozniacki drops her coach
Former women’s world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki has parted company with her Spanish coach Ricardo Sanchez after only two months of collaboration, the Ekstra Bladet daily reported on Wednesday. The decision, announced by Wozniacki’s father and confirmed by Sanchez, comes after her elimination in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. In December, Sanchez broke off his partnership with Serbian former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic to work with Wozniacki, who had dropped her father, Piotr, as her coach in August. “We decided to evaluate the collaboration and we agreed to bring it to an end,” Piotr Wozniacki told Ekstra Bladet. Sanchez told the newspaper that the decision was because of his differences with Wozniacki’s father, who had been the Dane’s only previous coach. “I have great respect for Piotr, who has never played tennis himself, and for the work he has done, but he has his way of doing things and I have mine,” Sanchez said.
Alkmaar make semi-finals
Belgian Maarten Martens struck twice to help AZ Alkmaar past amateurs GVVV Veenendaal with a 2-1 win in their Dutch Cup quarter-final on Wednesday. GVVV, who reached the last eight after surprise wins at top flight Excelsior Rotterdam and second-tier Sparta Rotterdam, stunned Alkmaar on 10 minutes when a cross from Dennis van Meegdenburg surprised goalkeeper Esteban. Their lead lasted just 10 minutes, Martens equalizing with a free-kick and the attacking midfielder sent Alkmaar into the semi-finals midway through the second half when he finished with a well-placed shot after combining with Adam Maher. Heracles Almelo cruised through after a 3-0 win at home over RKC Waalwijk. Samuel Armenteros and Kwame Quansah scored before the break, then Marko Vejinovic added a third, before RKC’s Evander Sno was sent off with 17 minutes remaining.
Bayern to discard Usami
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich have decided not to make Japanese teenager Takashi Usami’s loan deal a permanent one, J League club Gamba Osaka said yesterday. The highly rated 19-year-old joined the German side in June last year following his first international call-up, vowing at the time to become the “new Arjen Robben,” Bayern’s mercurial Dutch winger. Despite scoring all five goals in a 5-0 friendly rout of a local side in Qatar last month, Usami has failed to convince Bayern to sign him on a full transfer.