Starc thrown out of Britain
Cricket Australia yesterday denied having anything to do with Mitchell Starc being thrown out of Britain, as the fast bowler attempted to play down the visa problems that saw him deported. The left-armer was due to leave London on Tuesday evening with his English side Yorkshire, coached by former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, blaming either Cricket Australia or Starc’s agent for problems with his paperwork. The 22-year-old arrived at Heathrow Airport at the weekend and was initially cleared to remain, but he was unable to make his Yorkshire debut against Gloucestershire yesterday. Cricket Australia said the issue had nothing to do with them. “Mitchell is on annual leave and decided to organize a short-term contract with Yorkshire. It has absolutely nothing to do with us,” a spokesman said. “We have sent plenty of people to England and know all the requirements. Saying that, we have made it clear that if Mitchell needs our help, we are happy to do that.” While Cricket Australia have been blamed by some, Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves has also fingered Starc’s agent for the “fiasco,” the Guardian reported. Starc was due to begin an initial five-week deal with Yorkshire to help offset the departure of English seamer Ajmal Shahzad, who joined county champions Lancashire on loan this week. Yorkshire coach Gillespie said it was a pity Starc would miss the Gloucestershire clash, but said he would be back, hopefully in time to face Hampshire next week.
Ferrari honor Villeneuve
Ferrari has honored the 30th anniversary of Gilles Villeneuve’s death by having his son Jacques drive one of his old cars. Jacques Villeneuve took to the wheel of the 312 T4 driven by his father in 1979, the season the Canadian and Jody Scheckter ensured Ferrari won the constructors’ title. Also at Ferrari’s track in Fiorano, Italy, on Tuesday were other Villeneuve family members, Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, current Ferrari drivers and former mechanics who worked with the elder Villeneuve. Gilles Villeneuve died in a high-speed crash while qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on May 8, 1982. Now retired, Jacques Villeneuve was also an accomplished driver, winning the 1997 Formula One title.
Blues to advertise for coach
The Blues say they will advertise the position of head coach, increasing speculation current coach Pat Lam will not retain the job beyond this season. In a statement yesterday, Blues chairman Gary Whetton said the Auckland franchise and the New Zealand Rugby Union had agreed to advertise Lam’s position to test the degree of interest in the role. Lam is contracted to the end of this year with an option of a further year, but with the Blues having won only one of 10 Super Rugby games so far, his chances of reappointment seem slim.
McCaw in starting lineup
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is set to be in a starting lineup for the first time since last year’s World Cup final when he lead the Crusaders against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday. McCaw has played off the bench in the Crusaders’ last two games after recovering from a foot injury that affected him in the second half of New Zealand’s winning World Cup campaign. He will also take over the captaincy from his All Blacks teammate Kieran Read, who has led the Crusaders in their 10 matches so far this season. The Crusaders are seventh in the Super Rugby standings, with seven wins and three losses.