Latest – South Africa have recalled experienced spinner Simon Harmer to their expanded 17-man squad for the two-test tour of New Zealand starting in Christchurch on Feb. 17.
South African captain Dean Elgar Photo: PHOTOSPORT
Harmer, 32, last played for South Africa in 2015 before he took up a contract with Essex and proved a revelation on the county circuit as he captained the team to their 2019 T20 Blast win.
He is back in the test squad after spinning all-rounder George Linde opted out of the tour due to his upcoming wedding, and the uncapped Prenelan Subrayen was forced out due to a groin injury.
All five of Harmer’s test appearances came in 2015 as he took 20 wickets at an average of 29.40 against West Indies, Bangladesh and India.
Also back in contention is seamer Lutho Sipamla but there is no place for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who has not sufficiently recovered from a hip injury.
“The inclusions of Simon and Lutho reaffirm our intentions as a (selection) panel to reward excellence on the field and the pair have let their work speak on their behalf this past season,” selection convenor Victor Mpitsang said.
The squad is otherwise much the same which defeated India 2-1 in a home series earlier this month, with Dean Elgar the skipper and Temba Bavuma his deputy.
In a move to minimise COVID-19 risk, both fixtures, which will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship, will take place at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
South Africa squad:
Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.
Dutch cricketer banned for ball tampering
Netherlands fast bowler Vivian Kingma has been given a four-match suspension for tampering with the ball during his side’s third one-day international against Afghanistan.
Kingma will miss his team’s next four limited-overs games after breaching level three of the ICC’s code of conduct during Tuesday’s match in Doha.
“The incident occurred in the 31st over of Afghanistan’s innings, when the fast bowler changed the condition of the ball by scratching it with his nails,” the ICC said in a statement.
Kingma, 27, admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Wendell La Brooy, it added.
Netherlands were handed a five-run penalty, and lost the match by 75 runs as Afghanistan completed a 3-0 sweep.
Gilchrist slams rules which exclude Smith from Big Bash
Former Australia captain Adam Gilchrist has described Steve Smith’s absence from the COVID-19-hit Sydney Sixers in a Big Bash League game last night as “ridiculous,” with Cricket Australia (CA) coming under fire for not finding a way to let him play.
Steve Smith Photo: Graham Morris/www.cricketpix.com
The challenger final in Sydney went ahead without Smith as CA acknowledged it needed to tweak its regulations about player eligibility during the pandemic.
With last week’s cancellation of a limited-overs series between Australia and New Zealand, Smith had made himself available to play for the Sixers.
But even though the Sixers squad was hammered by COVID-19 and injuries, Smith was deemed ineligible by CA because replacements can only come from a Local Replacement Player pool, created due to COVID-19 concerns in early January.
CA’s decision drew plenty of criticism from current and former players.
Australia opener Joe Burns said on Twitter that it was “crazy” Smith was unable to play, with Gilchrist responding to his tweet that it was “ridiculous”.
RNZYS accepts American Magic’s challenge
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron formally accepted the New York Yacht Club American Magic’s challenge for the 37th America’s Cup to be held in 2024 – the third additional challenge accepted for AC37.
Photo: PhotoSport / Andrew Cornaga
“It is great to be back in the America’s Cup for AC37, and our pursuit of bringing the Trophy home remains the same,” remarked Terry Hutchinson, President of Sailing Operations for American Magic.
“We’ve been preparing for AC37 from the moment our time came to an end at AC36 and are a deeply motivated group – all hands-on deck – ready to compete and ready to win.”
Earlier this month, American Magic agreed to represent the New York Yacht Club at AC37 in a renewed collaboration to bring the America’s Cup trophy, the Auld Mug, back to the United States.
The team and the Club await the announcement of the venue and race schedule for AC37, the details for the America’s Cup World Series, and the plan for the youth and women’s events.
The venue announcement is expected on March 31st.
Climate change report released ahead of Winter Olympics
Climate change is threatening the Winter Olympics and the future of snow sports by making conditions much more dangerous for athletes and participants, experts warned in a report published a week before the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
The IOC and FIFA have pledged to reduce carbon emissions. Photo: Photosport
The Games, which start next week, will be the first Winter Olympics to use almost 100% artificial snow, deploying more than 100 snow generators and 300 snow-cannons working flat out to cover the ski slopes.
“This is not only energy and water intensive, frequently using chemicals to slow melt, but also delivers a surface that many competitors say is unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” said the report, written by researchers from the Sport Ecology Group at Loughborough University in England and the Protect Our Winters environment group.
The research noted that climate change meant natural snow was becoming less plentiful in many regions of the world, and was reducing the amount of water available for artificial snow, putting the global snow sport industry at risk.
“Navigating erratic snow seasons and rapid melt of low-level resorts are now the norm for many competitors,” the research said.
“The risk is clear: man-made warming is threatening the long-term future of winter sports. It is also reducing the number of climatically suitable host venues for the Winter Olympiad.”
IOC continues talks with Peng Shuai
The International Olympic Committee says it’s talked with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai last week and will meet her in Beijing during next month’s Winter Olympics.
C Photo: PHOTOSPORT
Peng’s situation became a matter of concern in November when the former women’s number one doubles player alleged that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her in the past. After that social media post, she was absent from public view for nearly three weeks.
Last month Peng said she had never accused anyone of sexually assaulting her, and that the post she made had been misunderstood. Zhang has not commented on the matter.
“Since the first call that the IOC held with Peng Shuai on 21 November 2021, the IOC team has kept in touch with her and had a number of conversations with her,” an IOC spokesperson said.
“She mentioned again that she is looking forward to a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach and Emma Terho, the Chair of the IOC Athletes Commission.”
Premier league tweak COVID rules
The English Premier League’s adjusting its COVID 19 protocols, ruling that clubs can apply for a fixture postponement only if they have a minimum of four positive COVID-19 cases in their squads.
The league made the determination after a meeting of representatives with all 20 clubs.
A total of 22 games have been called off this season due to COVID-19 outbreaks and the subsequent unavailability of players, with the league being criticised by some clubs for their handling of the crisis.
Earlier, a match could be postponed if one of the teams did not have 13 available outfield players — and one goalkeeper — “either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players”.
“From now on, if a club applies to postpone a match on the grounds of insufficient players due to COVID-19, they must have a minimum of four positive cases within their squad,” the league said.
The new guidelines will kick in ahead of the game between Burnley and Watford on February 5th.
Martial happy to move on
French striker Anthony Martial said he moved from Manchester United to Sevilla on a loan deal because he felt wanted.
“What convinced me to come is … the sporting director and the coach, they showed me that they wanted me,” Martial, who has joined the LaLiga club until the end of the season, told a news conference at his unveiling.
“I wanted to come so I could play and show what I can do in the team.”
The 26-year-old forward, who joined United in 2015 but asked to leave Old Trafford in December after struggling for opportunities this season.
Former Welsh international lands major role at World Rugby
Former Wales international Phil Davies has been appointed World Rugby’s new director of rugby.
The 58-year-old Davies, who currently serves as director at Leeds Tykes having previously coached the Namibian national team, takes over from Joe Schmidt, who left at the end of last year.
Davies led Namibia to the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, and also had stints at Cardiff Blues, Scarlets and Worcester Warriors.
“I believe that I can bring my experiences of playing and coaching in more than 20 nations over the past 35 years to support further growth and development to the sport both off and on the field,” Davies said in a statement.