Johnson rested for ODI
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson will be rested for Sunday’s first one-day international (ODI) against England to keep him fresh for the rest of the summer, coach Darren Lehmann said yesterday. With the five-match ODI series and next month’s tour of South Africa coming up, Australia will look to rotate a few more players from the Test side who thumped England 5-0 in the Ashes series. The 32-year-old left-arm fast bowler tormented the England batsmen with his searing pace and bounce, and picked up 37 wickets in the five-match series.
Smith fined over shoelaces
The National Basketball Association (NBA) fined New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith US$50,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct after twice tinkering with opponents’ shoelaces, the league said on Wednesday. Smith was fined after he attempted to untie the shoelace of the Detroit Pistons’ Greg Malone at the free-throw line on Tuesday. He had been warned by league officials to refrain from similar conduct after he untied the shoelace of Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion during a free-throw attempt in New York’s 92-80 road win on Saturday. Smith has a history of rules infractions, including a doping violation during the offseason that landed him a five-game ban to start the current campaign. He was also fined US$25,000 in November for a “hostile” tweet directed at an opponent who questioned the NBA credentials of J.R.’s younger brother, Chris Smith, who has since been waived by the Knicks.
Spurs’ Defoe heads for MSL
Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe is poised to sign for Major League Soccer side Toronto FC, British and Canadian media reported on Wednesday. The MLS club posted messages on their Web site and Twitter warning fans to expect “a bloody big deal” on Monday. British newspaper the Guardian and Canada’s Toronto Star said the 31-year-old Defoe would be loaned back to Tottenham until March 1 before the start of the MLS season on March 15. Defoe has played 55 times for England and scored 19 international goals.
Ostersund get Libya deal
Swedish club Ostersund are to receive more than half-a-billion kronor (US$76 million) to educate Libyan soccer players, local media reported on Wednesday. “From a Swedish perspective, it is absolutely the biggest soccer-related deal that has been signed,” Daniel Kindberg, chairman of Superettan (second-tier) side Ostersund, told Sportbladet. Kindberg said the five-year deal, funded by the Libyan state, would bring 60 Libyan players to the town from the beginning of March to the end of November, increasing to 250 players in the second year. The players are to study English, computers, sports management and sports administration, as well as play soccer. According to Sportbladet, a delegation from Libya visited the town in September last year and representatives from Ostersund are to fly next week to Libya to choose the 60 players who will take part in the first year of the program.
Fiorentina reach quarters
Fiorentina joined Juventus in the Italian Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday with a 2-0 home win over Chievo. Spain’s Joaquin opened the scoring in the 29th minute, with Croatia’s Ante Rebic heading in the second on the brink of half-time.