SPORTS DAY: A step too Farhaan?
The day's must-know sports happenings, compiled by David Isaacson
Behardien dropped for the moment
Farhaan Behardien’s legion of detractors finally got their way on Thursday when he was dropped from the squad to play India in the first three of six one-day internationals next month.
But the selectors picked a strange time to do what too many people have said for too long‚ sometimes unfairly‚ they should do.
Behardien is fourth in the batting averages and sixth among runscorers in this season’s franchise one-day competition‚ and he comes with the experience of 58 ODIs.
Stranger still‚ uncapped Khaya Zondo — who has scored 101 fewer runs than Behardien in the same event‚ averages 8.17 less‚ and has a strike rate 27.76 lower — has cracked the nod.
“This squad is only for the first three matches,” said selection convenor Linda Zondi. “We are not saying we’ve dropped Behardien and he’s not going to be part of the series.”
Lungi Ngidi is the other uncapped player in the squad‚ while Morne Morkel and Chris Morris return from injury. Left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is also back.
Sprinter runs away from trigger-happy robber
British sprinter Zharnel Hughes escaped without injury after being shot at during an attempted robbery in a Jamaican car park on Tuesday, local media reported.
The 22-year-old was approached by an armed assailant and held at gunpoint as he prepared for training at the University of the West Indies Usain Bolt Track in Kingston.
“I was putting on my sneakers at my trunk and this guy just came up pointing a gun in my face. He asked me for my phone and I ran off and the guy opened fire,” Anguilla-born Hughes told the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.
‘I never gave up’
Caroline Wozniacki says she never gave up on herself or her Grand Slam title dream after beating Elise Mertens Thursday to reach her first Australian Open final.
The Danish world number two overcame a late wobble in her semifinal to beat unseeded Mertens 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) and set up a clash against Romanian top seed Simona Halep on Saturday.
“I always believed in myself,” she said after reaching her third major final and first since the 2014 US Open. “I had a tough period where I had a few injuries,” added the 27-year-old, who slid down the rankings to 19th at the end of 2016.
World No 1 Halep quelled a tenacious Angelique Kerber fightback and saved two match points to reach her first Australian Open final with a riveting 6-3 4-6 9-7 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
Doctor gets up to 175 years
As his victims wept in a Michigan courtroom on Wednesday, disgraced long-time USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for abusing young female gymnasts who were entrusted to his care.
“I’ve signed your death warrant,” Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar, following days of accounts from about 160 of his victims.
Spectators and victims cried, applauded and embraced as Nassar, 54, wearing a dark blue jailhouse jumpsuit, was led out of the courtroom.
Pep talk helped Scots
Two days spent with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has given Scotland’s rugby coach Gregor Townsend some ideas which could help him guide his country to their first ever Six Nations title.
Townsend, who was a member of the Scotland team that clinched the last Five Nations crown in 1999, said Guardiola’s passion had made a big impression.
“He talked a lot about rugby as well, he loves rugby, and how you have to look forward because we pass the ball back.”
Egyptians on top of the pyramid
Squash players from Egypt are dominating the sport globally, with coaches and their opponents saying their tight-knit community and freer training techniques have given them a competitive edge.
Six of the world’s top 10 male players are Egyptian, and four are in the women’s top 10.
Alan Thatcher, editor and publisher of the website Squash Mad, said Egyptians had introduced a more dynamic style of squash that is “amazingly entertaining”.
“The old style of game was about the long attritional rallies, hundreds of shots, up and down the side wall, but now largely thanks to the Egyptians you’re seeing a new style of squash: attacking squash,” said Thatcher.
Bankrupt Becker’s trophies are fair game
Boris Becker won six Grand Slams during a glittering career, but even those treasured trophies are fair game as insolvency practitioners responsible for handling his bankruptcy try to track them down to pay his creditors.
Becker, who earned $25 million in prize money in his career, is pleading for help to track down five missing Grand Slam trophies — including all three of his Wimbledon trophies — plus others, with the intention that they will be sold to pay his creditors.
Keitany eyes Radcliffe marathon record
Mary Keitany has set her sights on breaking Paula Radcliffe’s world record at the London Marathon this year and will run with male pacemakers as the Briton did when she set the mark of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds at the event in 2003.
Kenyan Keitany, 36, clocked 2:17:01 to break Radcliffe’s women-only marathon world record en route to her victory in London last year.
Williams adds to Wales injury crisis
Liam Williams is the latest Welsh star to be considered a doubt for the Six Nations and may require surgery on a long-standing abdominal injury, head coach Warren Gatland said.
Gatland has already lost British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton and fellow flanker Dan Lydiate for the entire tournament.
Sri Lanka thrash Bangladesh
Suranga Lakmal led Sri Lankan bowlers on a confidence-boosting rampage to skittle out Bangladesh for 82 on Thursday and guide his side into the final of the Dhaka tri-nation tournament where they will face the hosts again.
Zimbabwe ended third. — Reuters-AFP-TimesLIVE