Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash, widely regarded as one of the most gifted stroke players of his generation, has retired from all forms of cricket. The 42-year-old, who last played for his country in 2002, featured in 52 Tests. He scored 2,350 runs at an average of 27.32, with two centuries representing a poor return for a batsman of his class and talent. Ramprakash scored 114 centuries in 461 first-class matches for Middlesex and Surrey. He said he decided to retire when Surrey told him he was no longer in their future plans. “I had a tough start to this season, but I continued to try and remain fit and wanted to play. However, last week I was informed I was not in Surrey’s selection plans and therefore I felt the time was right to step aside,” Ramprakash told a news conference at The Oval on Thursday. Ramprakash is expected to pursue a career in the media, but also expressed an interest in coaching junior cricketers.
Beckham gets suspension
Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has been suspended for a game for “confrontational and provocative behavior” near the end of last week’s loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, Major League Soccer (MLS) said on Thursday. The actions by Beckham, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, occurred during and immediately after his team’s 4-3 loss, and were considered unacceptable and detrimental to the league’s public image, MLS said in a statement. With under a minute remaining in stoppage-time, an impatient Beckham kicked a ball at San Jose’s Sam Cronin, who was lying on the pitch. The ball hit Cronin and referee Hilario Grajeda, resulting in a yellow card for Beckham. The infraction earned Beckham, who had to be separated from opposing players after the final whistle, an automatic one-game ban for yellow-card accumulation, which he served earlier this week.
Brazil choose Silva, Hulk
Brazil coach Mano Menezes has included AC Milan defender Thiago Silva and Porto striker Hulk in Brazil’s squad that will try to give the nation its first Olympic gold medal in soccer. Real Madrid defender Marcelo was the other overage player included in the 18-man squad selected on Thursday by Menezes for the London Games. Soccer at the Olympics is played with under-23 squads, but each team can use three overage players. As expected, the Brazil squad also includes several promising young stars such as Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Leandro Damiao, Lucas, Oscar and Alexandre Pato. The Olympic tournament is the only significant soccer title that Brazil have never won.
Arsenal cancel Nigeria trip
Arsenal have canceled their first trip to Nigeria and a pre-season friendly against the national team set for Aug. 5 in Abuja. It was to be Arsenal’s first trip to Africa in 18 years, but “complexities” caused the trip to be put off, Arsenal marketing director Angus Kinnear said in a statement on Thursday. Kinnear said they plan to visit Nigeria next year. The announcement came days after an explosion near a popular mall in Abuja. There were no casualties. However, the incident has heightened security fears in a capital that has been targeted by radical Islamist insurgents in the past. The Gunners are still set to tour Asia to play a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on July 24, English Premier League champions Manchester City in Beijing on July 27 and Kitchee FC in Hong Kong on July 29.