Holding slams Ponting book
West Indies great Michael Holding criticized former Australian captain Ricky Ponting yesterday over revelations in his autobiography that prompted a public spat with current skipper Michael Clarke. Holding, now a prominent commentator, said it was “unfortunate” that Ponting had broken the traditional dressing room code of silence in the book, which was released last month. The former paceman said it was acceptable for ex-players to reveal “a few little titbits” in their memoirs, but they should not air dirty laundry in public. “You don’t want to be starting all this animosity after you’ve finished playing,” he told New Zealand radio station Livesport. “You’ve played cricket with some great guys, some not that great, but that doesn’t mean that you come out into the open and wash your laundry, keep it behind doors.”
England call up three Saints
England coach Roy Hodgson has recognized Southampton’s strong start to the season by calling up three players from the south-coast club for friendlies, including two who have never played for their country. Striker Jay Rodgriguez has been included in the squad for the first time for the matches against Chile and Germany, having scored four goals for Southampton this season. “Southampton at the moment are becoming a very good club as far as England are concerned in terms of providing players,” Hodgson said on Thursday. “We like what we see there and this was a great opportunity. Now is the right time to introduce them.” Southampton are fifth in the Premier League, six points behind leaders Arsenal. Also among the forward options is Rickie Lambert, who has scored twice in his first three internationals. Midfielder Adam Lallana was called up by Hodgson for a game last year, but did not play. “We have been following him very closely and I think he has played a major role in Southampton’s rise to the top this season,” Hodgson said.
Gender row rocks league
South Korea’s women’s league has been rocked by a gender testing row that has dragged in the state human rights commission and triggered the resignation of one team coach. The dispute has its roots in a recent request by coaches of six of the seven K-League teams that the star striker of the Seoul City club, Park Eun-seon, be required to undergo a gender test. They also asked that the Korea Women’s Football Federation (KWFF) bar Park from playing until her gender is verified. Park was the league’s leading goalscorer this year and the Seoul City management held a press conference on Thursday, denouncing the request. “Demanding a gender examination on a person is a serious human rights violation that insults someone’s character,” the club said, demanding an immediate apology and threatening legal action. A spokeswoman for the National Human Rights Commission of Korea said they had received a petition requesting an investigation into whether Park’s rights had been violated. A senior KWFF official said yesterday that Park was a fully registered league player and that there would be “no test to verify her gender.” On Thursday, one of the six coaches who had sent the original request to the KWFF expressed regret and said he was resigning, although he insisted that the coaches’ motives had been misunderstood. “We were only questioning why Park hadn’t been on the national team even though she’s the best female player,” said Lee Sung-gyun, coach of the Suwon FMC club.