Bhajji ‘replaced’ by Hooper
London: Former West Indies captain Carl Hooper said he would remain as Lancashire’s overseas player for the remainder of the season after agreeing a contract extension.
The 36-year-old, a top-order batsman and useful off-spinner, was initially recruited by the Old Trafford-based team as short-term cover for injured India star Harbhajan Singh. But the off-spinner’s finger injury proved more serious than first thought prompting Lancashire to continue with Hooper.
Hooper, who previously played English County cricket for Kent, said on Wednesday: “I’m delighted that Mike Watkinson asked me to stay, I’ve really enjoyed my time here with Lancashire and it’s a bonus to be able to work with the team over what should be a very exciting season.”
Former Lancashire and England allrounder Watkinson, now the County’s cricket manager added: “Carl’s been a valuable addition to the squad and even though we were looking forward to Harbhajan arriving, Carl has filled the position admirably and, under the circumstances, I’m glad that he’s decided to stay with us.”
Okocha, Kanu in squad
Abuja: Nigeria have included Bolton midfielder Jay Jay Okocha and Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu in the squad for a friendly international against Ecuador in Texas on July 5.
The pair is among several experienced players that are being rested for Nigeria’s final African Nations Cup qualifier against Angola on Saturday. Nigeria lead group I and only need a draw against Angola to reach the finals in Tunisia in January.
THE SQUAD — Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Enyimba), Austin Ejide (Etoile). Defenders: Ifeanyi Udeze (West Brom), Romanus Orjinta (Enyimba), Isaac Okoronkwo (Sharktar Donetsk), Seyi Olofinjana (SK Brann), Seyi Olajengbesi (Julius Berger). Midfielders: Joseph Enakhaire (Standard Liege), Garba Lawal (Levski Sofia), Austin Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton), Christain Obodo (Perugia), Ifeanyi Ekwueme (Wisla), Ikpe Ekong (Reggiana). Strikers: Nwankwo Kanu (Arsenal), Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Portsmouth), John Utaka (Lens), Chukwudi Nworgu (Beitar Jerusalem), Benedict Akwuegbu (AK Graz).
Ferrari need to improve: Schumi
Munich: Although Michael Schumacher took over the lead in the Formula One drivers’ championship at the Canadian Grand Prix, he said Ferrari still need to improve.
“We have to get better this season and in every area. One can always improve! In every way! If we didn’t believe that, Ferrari wouldn’t have come this far,” wrote the five-time world champion in Sportbild magazine.
After a slow season start, Schumacher’s victory in Montreal pushed him past Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen with 54 points to 51 halfway through the F-1 season. But the German expressed doubt about another title being a sure thing against stiffer competition on the circuit. “We’ll just have to wait and see if it’s enough for the title,” Schumacher said.
Schumacher and Ferrari have not been able to repeat the feat of last season when they ran away with the title, showing such complete domination of f1 many complained the sport had grown boring.
Monaco win appeal
Paris: French championship runners-up Monaco have won their appeal against relegation on financial grounds, the French Football Federation said on Thursday. It said Monaco, who have qualified for the Champions League, can retain their domestic top-flight status but their player recruitment will be closely monitored.
Monaco, whose debts have been estimated at between 53 and 87 million euros ($62-$102 million), were relegated by the French Professional League on financial grounds.
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