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Australia announce Ashes squad: Brad Haddin recalled as Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus miss out

Veteran Haddin recalled as Australia announce 16-man squad heading to England in bid to win back the Ashes

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 24 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:30 GMT, 24 April 2013

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been named as Australia vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series in England.

The 35-year-old replaces Shane Watson, who stepped down as Michael Clarke's deputy after the troubled tour on India but remains part of the 16-man squad.

National selector John Inverarity said: 'We feel it's important to have a senior, seasoned player support Michael at this time.

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Key dates

June 26-29: v Somerset

July 2-5: v Worcs

July 10-14: 1st Test, Trent Bridge

July 18-22: 2nd Test, Lord's

July 26-28: v Sussex

August 1-5: 3rd Test, Old Trafford

August 9-13: 4th Test, Durham

August 16-17: v Northants

August 21-25: 5th Test, The Oval

'When Shane Watson advised of his
decision to stand down, the NSP (national selection panel) viewed Brad
as the exceptional candidate to step into this leadership void.'

Matthew Wade, who has been Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper of late, will also travel to England.

'Matthew Wade is a very good cricketer and remains central to our plans for the future,' Inverarity added.

Left-arm seamer James Faulkner is the only uncapped player to be named, with Mitchell Johnson missing out.

Chris Rogers, the 35-year-old batsman
who has just one Test cap to his name, also makes the squad and seamer
Ryan Harris returns.

'Chris Rogers is a hardened
first-class cricketer and has been given a deserved opportunity on the
back of sustained run-scoring in both Australia and England over many
seasons,' said Inverarity.

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

'James Faulkner has also been given
an opportunity after impressing in recent months as an all-rounder. His
performance in last month's Bupa Sheffield Shield final was compelling
and he has now produced three consistently good seasons with the ball at
Shield level for Tasmania.

'He is a player who is seldom out of the game for long. He takes wickets, forms partnerships and makes valuable runs.

'Ryan Harris has regained fitness and
it is great to have such a very highly regarded and well-performed pace
bowler back in the mix.'

Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistan-born
leg-spinner who has not yet received his Australian passport, has not
been included, leaving Nathan Lyon as the only spinner in the 16.

Ahmed also misses out on the 14-man
Australia A squad to tour the British Isles ahead of the Ashes, which
contains a number of players from the senior squad including Haddin, who
will captain the side, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Harris, Jackson
Bird and Nathan Lyon.

Steven Smith, who misses out on a
place in the Ashes squad despite some creditable performances in India,
is vice-captain of the A side.

Smith is one of five men to drop out
from the India squad – along with Johnson, Moises Henriques, Xavier
Doherty and Glenn Maxwell – which slipped to a 4-0 series defeat amid
high-profile problems with discipline.

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Inverarity added: 'The tour to India was very demanding and a learning experience for all.

'The result was unacceptable and the
players, coaches, support staff and NSP are smarting from those
performances and are galvanised to ensure that we play tough,
competitive cricket throughout the Ashes.'

The first Ashes Test begins at Trent
Bridge on July 10, with two tour matches before that, while Australia A
will take on Scotland, Ireland and Gloucestershire, with the first match
getting under way in Edinburgh on June 7.

Lawrence Booth, Sportsmail cricket writer and editor of Wisden, gives a run down on the Australian squad heading to England for the Ashes series this summer

Michael Clarke

MICHAEL CLARKE (c)
AGE: 32
CAPS: 92
VERDICT: World cricket's in-form batsman in 2012, the captain will need to score three hundreds to give Australia a chance.

Brad Haddin

BRAD HADDIN (vc)
AGE: 35
CAPS: 44
VERDICT: Ousted by Wade behind the stumps, he's a spiky character who England would rather not have to deal with.

JACKSON BIRD

JACKSON BIRD
AGE: 26
CAPS: 2
VERDICT: Seam bowler who is not particularly fast but his ability to swing the ball both ways has proven very successful in domestic cricket.

Ed Cowan

ED COWAN
AGE: 30
CAPS: 17
VERDICT: Steady, cerebral left-handed opener, but unlikely to frighten the England attack.

Phillip Hughes

PHILLIP HUGHES
AGE: 24
CAPS: 24
VERDICT: England have exploited his vulnerability outside off stump in the past – expect more of the same, plus a peppering of short stuff.

David Warner

DAVID WARNER
AGE: 26
CAPS: 19
VERDICT: Another left-handed opener, he has the potential to destroy the opposition, but inconsistent at Test level. Jimmy Anderson will fancy swinging the ball into him.

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

James Faulkner

JAMES FAULKNER
AGE: 22
CAPS: 0
VERDICT: A left-arm seamer and hard-hitting batsman, the 22-year-old Faulkner is an outsider for a Test spot – but look out for him in the shorter stuff.

USMAN

USMAN KHAWAJA
AGE: 26
CAPS: 6
VERDICT: Left-handed top order batsman who was one of the four players dropped ahead of the third Test in India following a breach of discipline.

Shane Watson

SHANE WATSON
AGE: 31
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: Averaging only 25 since the start of 2011, he needs a big series to prove he was right to quit the vice-captaincy. Could do with bowling too.

Matthew Wade

MATTHEW WADE
AGE: 25
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: His batting can be punchy, but his glovework is shaky. And he's a place too high at No 6.

Nathan Lyon

NATHAN LYON
AGE: 25
CAPS: 22
VERDICT: Australia's first-choice spinner is tidy but unthreatening, and his confidence was knocked recently when he was dropped in India.

Ryan Harris

RYAN HARRIS
AGE: 33
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: Fast and hostile, as he showed when England lost at Perth in 2010-11. Only trouble is, he's rarely fit.

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

cHRIS rOGERS

CHRIS ROGERS
AGE: 35
CAPS: 1
VERDICT: Another left handed top order batsman whose one and only cap came against India in 2008. Played country cricket so is used to English conditions.

James Pattinson

JAMES PATTINSON
AGE: 22
CAPS: 10
VERDICT: Young, hungry, angry and highly talented. He will be the bowler England's batsmen fear most.

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own reasons to celebrate on English soil

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own Sprinkler Dance on English soil

Peter Siddle

PETER SIDDLE
AGE: 28
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: The workhorse of Australia's seam attack, he has improved hugely over the last year. But will he be bowled into the ground

Mitchell Starc

MITCHELL STARC
AGE: 23
CAPS: 9
VERDICT: Tall left-arm seamer who could be Australia's best chance of keeping Alastair Cook quiet. Can bat a bit too.

Rio Ferdinand looks ripped after Manchester United win Premier League title

Ripped Rio! United defender Ferdinand can't play twice a week… but it hasn't stopped him bulking up in the gym

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

08:44 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:07 GMT, 23 April 2013

The body might not be able to manage two games a week anymore but Manchester United’s title-celebrating tweeter Rio Ferdinand looks in pretty good nick to us.

Ferdinand posted pictures of his team-mates celebrating the club’s 20th title from the Old Trafford dressing room following their 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

But it was the photographs taken by the professionals as the United squad cracked open bottles of sponsors’ Barclays’ bubbly which really caught the eye.

Ripped: Rio Ferdinand celebrates after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford

Ripped: Rio Ferdinand celebrates after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford

Rio Ferdinand

Ripped: Rio Ferdinand celebrates after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford

Ferdinand looked particularly ripped and muscly as he sprayed the champers.

It’s not just the torso which looks impressive in the images, but Ferdinand’s bulging biceps.

Ferdinand has played 24 games in his club’s latest title success and he looks certain to be around for another few years to add to his personal tally.

And looking like this. Why not

Great shape: Ferdinand (right) has had his problems with injury but he clearly spends plenty of time in the gym

Great shape: Ferdinand (right) has had his problems with injury but he clearly spends plenty of time in the gym

Rio Ferdinand with Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney

Rio Ferdinand with Rafael

At least now we know what he was up to behind the scenes last month when he turned down his England recall.

Ferdinand may have flown over to the Far East for his television commitments. And he may have fulfilled his obligations to meet and coach youngsters in Dubai before appearing on Al Jazeera.

But quite clearly the 34-year-old defender spent the rest of his spare time in the hotel gym pumping those weights.

Main men: Ferdinand celebrates with Michael Carrick after United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford

Main men: Ferdinand celebrates with Michael Carrick after United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford

WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP 2013: Barry Hearn complains to BBC over Ronnie O"Sullivan coverage

We deserve better than this, BBC! Hearn complains after coverage of O'Sullivan ends… for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

15:04 GMT, 21 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 21 April 2013

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has complained to the BBC, after they left the climax of Ronnie O'Sullivan's first round match at the World Championship to show a 1970s comedy.

O'Sullivan, making his return to snooker after pulling out of virtually the whole season, was about to complete a 10-4 win over Marcus Campbell on Saturday night when BBC2 switched to the Michael Crawford sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

There were various complaints made by fans on social networking sites, and Hearn responded on Sunday by writing on Twitter: 'Sorry to all snooker fans for the poor BBC coverage last night. Letter of complaint sent to BBC today.'

The complaint from Hearn is surprising when you consider how much praise he has heaped on the BBC in recent times for their coverage of the sport.

The corporation, which has covered snooker for decades, has recently signed up as host broadcaster of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters tournaments until 2017.

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, welcomed the public response to the BBC's scheduling decision, saying on Twitter: 'Snooker Fans, World Snooker letter of complaint has been filed with the BBC over yesterdays coverage, thanks everyone for your comments.'

The BBC hasn't yet responded to Hearn's comments. They are almost certain to point towards their coverage on the 'red button' service, which showed the end of O'Sullivan's match.

Some fans of the sport might speculate on the timing of Hearn's complaints. The BBC have regularly left their coverage of more significant matches, at later stages of the tournament, in years gone by.

The overall picture on the opening weekend of the tournament is a positive one, with plenty of column inches accompanying O'Sullivan's win, as snooker fights its corner among other sporting attractions like key football matches, the London Marathon and Bahrain Grand Prix.

Enlarge

Some mothers do 'ave 'em

Classic comedy: Millions of viewers watched Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em on the BBC when it was first screened between 1973 and 1978

Watch a classic clip from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em…

Paolo Di Canio denies having fascist beliefs

I'm no fascist: Sunderland boss Di Canio bows to pressure and denies having right-wing sympathies

PUBLISHED:

15:15 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:59 GMT, 3 April 2013

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has released a statement denouncing racism and fascism and vowed that he 'respects everyone'.

The Italian's political beliefs and background have come under close scrutiny in the days after his appointment as boss at the Stadium of Light on Sunday night.

The former West Ham, Celtic and Lazio striker had declined to answer questions over whether he was a fascist, but has now moved to draw a line under the matter.

Controversial: Do Canio's appointment has caused uproar among fans and those opposed to fascism

Controversial: Do Canio's appointment has caused uproar among fans and those opposed to fascism

Di Canio said in a statement: 'I have
clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than
football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the
football club.

'This is an historic, proud and
ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal
accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles
come from my family and my upbringing.

'I feel that I should not have to
continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however
I will say one thing only – I am not the man that some people like to
portray.

'I am not political, I do not
affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not
support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.

'I am a football man and this and my family are my focus. Now I will speak only of football.'

Earlier today the Dean of Durham
wrote an open letter to Di Canio calling on the Italian to publicly
renounce fascism or risk being associated with 'toxic far-right
tendencies'.

Denounce fascism: The Dean of Durham has called on Di Canio to distance himself from toxic far-right tendencies

Denounce fascism: The Dean of Durham has called on Di Canio to distance himself from toxic far-right tendencies

Plea: The Dean of Durham has called on Di Canio to distance himself from toxic far-right tendencies

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove,
the son of a Jewish war refugee and a Sunderland supporter, said he was
struggling to stay loyal to the club and that he found Di Canio's
'self-confessed fascism deeply troubling'.

In his open letter to Di Canio, the Dean of Durham wrote: 'Your appointment raises very difficult questions. You see, I am the child of a Jewish war refugee who got out of Germany and came to Britain just in time. Some of her family and friends perished in the Nazi death camps. So I find your self-confessed fascism deeply troubling.

'Fascism was nearly the undoing of the world. It cost millions of innocent lives. Mussolini, who you say has been deeply misunderstood, openly colluded with it. You are said to wear a tattoo DUX which speaks for itself. This all adds up to what I find baffling.

'You say that you are not a racist, but it needs great sophistication to understand how fascism and racism are ultimately different. I can promise you that this distinction will be lost on the people of the North East where the British National Party is finding fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of its pernicious and poisonous doctrine.'

Di Canio refused to confirm or deny whether he was a fascist at a news conference yesterday but has previously stated he is 'a fascist but not a racist'.

He has also been pictured giving a fascist salute to Lazio 'ultras' and photographed attending the funeral of a leading Italian fascist.

Di Canio, the former Swindon
manager, has the word 'Dux', the Latin equivalent of 'Duce', tattooed on
his arm – a reference to Il Duce, Benito Mussolini.

Down to work: Di Canio has taken charge of his first training session at Sunderland today

Down to work: Di Canio has taken charge of his first training session at Sunderland today

Down to work: Di Canio took charge of his first training session at Sunderland today

WHAT EXACTLY IS FASCISM

As the last few days have shown, ‘fascism’ is a word that comes with great political baggage but no simple definition.

In general terms, it evokes right-wing and nationalistic values – standing against the liberal ideals of socialism and democracy and promoting instead authoritarian figures who control the state.

Fascism is ingrained in the political make-up of Italy but is muddied by its links to Nazism, and particularly anti-Semitism.

While racism was a central ideology to Nazism, some historians argue Italian fascism is far more ambiguous – it focuses on conflicts of nation and race within any culture rather than defining status by class.

The first ‘fascist’ movement to gain real power was Mussolini’s Blackshirts in Italy in 1922 – before Adolf Hitler took over the term in the build-up to the Second World War.

Where this leaves Di Canio’s politics is anyone’s guess.

He told Italian news agency Ansa in 2005: 'I am a fascist, not a racist.

'I
give the straight arm salute because it is a salute from a “camerata”
to “camerati”,' he said, using the Italian words for members of
Mussolini's fascist movement.

'The salute is aimed at my people. With the straight arm I don't want to incite violence and certainly not racial hatred.'

At a news conference yesterday, Di Canio blasted the furore over his appointment as Sunderland manager as 'ridiculous and pathetic' and warned that he may not speak to media who continue to question him on the subject.

He said: 'My life speaks for me so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it's ridiculous and pathetic.

'We are in a football club and not in the House of Parliament. I'm not a political person, I will talk about only football.'

His
appointment led to the resignation of the club's vice-chairman David
Miliband, Labour MP for South Shields and former foreign secretary, and
the Durham Miners' Association has asked the club to return a symbolic
banner which is kept at the Stadium of Light if Di Canio remains in his
post.

SO, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS

Di Canio is yet to explain why he was at the funeral of fascist Paolo Signorelli in 2010, where mourners made the right-arm salute as the body was carried out of the church.

The Sunderland boss was a frequent visitor to Signorelli's home in the final years of his life.

Signorelli, who died aged 76, had been a senior member of the Italian Socialist movement which grew out of the collapse of Benito Mussolini's Fascist party after the Second World War.

Paolo Di Canio

He spent eight years in jail on remand after a bomb was set off killing 85 people at Bologna railway station in 1980.

Although he was initially convicted he
was cleared on appeal because of insufficient evidence. But he was
still found guilty of being part of an 'armed band' and a 'subversion
against democracy'.

Di Canio is understood to have been a frequent visitor to the far-right politician's home in the final years of his life.

Terrorist bombing in Bologna Railway station

'I will not talk about Fascist issue anymore' – Di Canio

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Robin Van Persie hails Manchester United"s team of winners

Van Persie hails United's team of winners as they edge closer to title

PUBLISHED:

15:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 30 March 2013

Manchester United moved another step closer to the Barclays Premier League title as they won 1-0 at Sunderland, and striker Robin van Persie was quick to praise the attitude of his team-mates.

United are 18 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City as a result and it would take a collapse of dramatic proportions for them to throw the title away.

Van Persie claimed the only goal today, although replays suggested his shot was not going in until Titus Bramble put it into his own net, but the striker was not too concerned.

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

'We got the three points, we knew it would be tough because Sunderland work hard and we had to dig in, but we deserved it,' he told Sky Sports 2.

'It didn't matter who scored today, it was all about the three points.

'This team is full of winners, everyone knows what they have to do and it was never in doubt for me. I was confident we would win.'

A title coronation seems inevitable in
the next couple of weeks and midfielder Michael Carrick is anticipating
winning another medal.

'We played some good football today, even if we didn't get as many goalscoring opportunities as we'd have liked,' he added.

'It was all about coming here and winning. We're getting closer and it's one game less. We have to keep going.'

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

United next face Chelsea in the FA Cup replay on Monday and Van Persie has warned fans not to expect a classic.

It is the kind of scheduling that has England's European counterparts scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And Van Persie points out it is difficult for the players to reach a high level of performance twice in such a short period of time.

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can't do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.

'We just have to deal with it.

'People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'If it happens I am glad, but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other.'

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Van Persie was speaking after
United's 1-0 win at Sunderland, which maintains their 15-point advantage
over Manchester City with just eight games remaining.

City will be the opponents for
Monday's victors at Stamford Bridge, with Van Persie eager to get his
hands on a trophy he won with Arsenal but United have not lifted since
2004.

'It has been a while,' he said.

'It has been nine years since we last won it and we want to win the double.

'We made a big step today but we want to go for both. We have a chance to reach the semi-final against City.'

Jonny Evans admitted Manchester
United will head into the unknown as they attempt to book an FA Cup
semi-final place just 48 hours after strengthening their grip on the
Barclays Premier League title.

Evans said: 'I have never really been in that situation before, so it will be new to probably most of us.

'It's
just all about tonight. We will probably go back and get a good
recovery session in and make sure we have done everything we can
physically to make sure we are right for the game on Monday.'

Evans
will make the trip to Stamford Bridge hoping for a start after getting
his chance on Wearside as a first-half substitute when full-back Rafael
da Silva limped off.

Chris
Smalling moved from central defence to right-back to accommodate the
25-year-old as aUnited defence which had been criticised earlier in the
campaign recorded its sixth successive league clean sheet.

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Asked about the difficulty of
competing with Ferdinand and Vidic for a place in the heart of the back
four, he said: 'You are always competing.

'Even if one of those two isn't fit,
you have got Chris Smalling, who started at centre-back today. I'm sure
he was disappointed to get moved to right-back, it's not his favourite
position, but for the sake of the team, he did that.

'Phil
Jones is another one. The competition is all over the pitch. You look
at the players who didn't start today or have been left behind – it's
some team, really.'

Monday
night's game represents an opportunity to keep hopes of yet another
Double alive with United marching inexorably towards the league title.

Their
recent surge – they have now lost only once in 22 games in all
competitions, and that in controversial circumstances to Real Madrid in
the Champions League – has been based on defensive resilience rather
than attacking flair, and Evans admits it is a pleasant change for the
men at the back to receive the plaudits normally reserved for their
attacking colleagues.

He said with a smile: “You have probably noticed we haven't scored as many goals. It's getting that fine balance.

'We will take it the way we are at the minute. Especially as a defender, it's better to keep clean sheets than having the forwards getting all the glory, I suppose, so we are just happy.

'Clean sheets, that's what we want as defenders, so we are delighted with that.'

Sir Alex Ferguson used the depth of his squad at the Stadium of Light with Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney not even making the 18.

Da Silva must be a doubt after being unable to continue against Sunderland, while Vidic was left clutching his back after a rugged challenge with striker Danny Graham, although he made it through to the final whistle.

Jesse Ryder in critical condition after being beaten up outside Christchurch bar

New Zealand's Ryder in critical condition after being attacked outside Christchurch bar

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

20:41 GMT, 27 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 27 March 2013

New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder has been admitted to Christchurch Hospital after being attacked at a bar, police have confirmed.

According to reports in New Zealand, the 28-year-old all-rounder is in a critical condition in intensive care after suffering a fractured skull and a collapsed lung.

It is understood that three men attacked the controversial cricketer from behind.

Critical condition: Jesse Ryder

Support: Ryder

Critical condition: Jesse Ryder is in hospital in Christchurch after suffering serious head injuries

A statement on the New Zealand Police website read: 'Police are investigating an incident at a bar in Merivale in the early hours of this morning.

Cricket tweets support for Ryder

Michael Vaughan (former England captain) – Devastating news regarding Jesse Ryder… Just hope he can pull through… Thoughts are with him and his family…

Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire and former Ireland seamer) – Get well soon Jesse Ryder!

Ross Taylor (New Zealand batsman, former captain) – Thinking of you mate @DijaRyder

Black Caps (Official New Zealand cricket Twitter account) – The whole NZC team's thoughts are with @DijaRyder this morning.

Luke Wright (England limited overs all-rounder) – Hope your ok @DijaRyder. Get well soon buddy.

Martin Guptill (New Zealand batsman) – Thoughts are with @DijaRyder this morning. Get well soon bro.

'Police can confirm the incident did involve Jesse Ryder and that he is currently in Christchurch Hospital.'

St John Ambulance confirmed to TVNZ that two ambulances responded to an alleged assault at 12.34am in the morning.

'We transported to Christchurch Hospital ED under lights and sirens one patient, a male, aged in his 20s, with very serious head injuries,' St John Ambulance said.

Ryder, a controversial figure whose career has been plagued by off-field incidents, is on an indefinite break from international cricket and has not played for New Zealand since February last year.

Ryder has played 18 Tests and 39 one-day internationals for the Black Caps, his last appearance an ODI against South Africa.

He played yesterday for the Wellington Firebirds in the major preliminary final against Canterbury Wizards at Hagley Oval and was due to fly out to India this week to compete for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

New Zealand Cricket revealed its chief executive David White, Peter Clinton from Cricket Wellington, Heath Mills from the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association and Ryder's manager Aaron Klee were flying to Christchurch.

'We are all shocked by what has occurred and extremely concerned for Jesse. New Zealand Cricket's thoughts are with him and his family,' White said.

New Zealand Cricket said the four would likely hold a press conference once they had ascertained the facts surrounding Ryder's injuries and his current condition.

Michael Appleton sacked by Blackburn

Appleton sacked by Blackburn after just two months in charge as Rovers look for their FOURTH manager of the season

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:24 GMT, 19 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:10 GMT, 19 March 2013

Blackburn have sacked Michael Appleton after just over two months in charge at Ewood Park.

Rovers have made the decision to wield the axe on a third manager this season following Sunday's 1-1 draw with local rivals Burnley and last week's FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Millwall.

A statement read: 'Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm that Michael Appleton has been relieved of his duties as manager along with assistant manager Ashley Westwood, first team coach Darren Moore and head of senior recruitment Luke Dowling.'

Sacked: Michael Appleton has left Blackburn after just two months

Sacked: Michael Appleton has left Blackburn after just two months

ROVERS MANAGER RECORDS

Michael Appleton
P15 W6 L6 D5

Henning Berg
P10 W1 L3 D6

Steve Kean
P8 W4 L2 D2

The club, without a win in eight games in all competitions, are 18th in the npower Championship table and just four points above the relegation zone.

Appleton left Blackpool to join Blackburn in the new year after just 65 days in charge at Bloomfield Road.

During 67 days in the Rovers job, Appleton won four, drew five and lost six of his 15 matches in charge.

It means that if Blackburn get another manager they will have had same number this season as Manchester United have had since 1972.

The goings on at Ewood Park this season are a far cry from the side that lifted the Premier League trophy in 1995 with Kenny Dalglish in charge and Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton playing up front.

Cut short: Appleton played for Preston but retired early due to injury

Cut short: Appleton played for Preston but retired early due to injury

Going global: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh

Going global: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh

Bottom of the Championship table

Bottom of the Championship table

Australian Grand Prix 2013: All you need to know about the 2013 race in Melbourne

Australian Grand Prix guide: All you need to know about the 2013 race in Melbourne

pole position: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 1min 24.922secs

2012 winner: Jenson Button (McLaren)

2012 fastest lap: Jenson Button 1min 29.187s

Number of corners: 16 (6 left/10 right)

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Winning start: Jenson Button won last year's Australian Grand Prix

Tyre compounds to be used: supersoft/medium

Bumpiness: medium

Overtaking chance: low

Engine severity: high

Brake wear severity: high

Average lap speed: 200kph (124.274mph)

Full throttle per lap: 71 per cent

Gear changes per lap: 54 (race = 3132)

2012 winning strategy: 2 stops (laps 16, 36)

2012 total race pit stops: 41

2012 total 'normal' overtakes: 22

2012 total DRS overtakes: 12

Number of safety car deployments over last 10 years: 13

Congrats: Lewis Hamilton (right) has since changed teams to Mercedes

Congrats: Lewis Hamilton (right) has since changed teams to Mercedes

On 11 occasions from 17 Australian Grands Prix, the winning driver at Albert Park has gone on to become world champion.Pole position has accounted for eight of the 17 winners of this race, with six in the last nine years.The lowest starter to win was Eddie Irvine, who started 11th for Ferrari in 1999.Jenson Button has won three times in the last four years, leaving him one victory shy of equalling Michael Schumacher's record of four wins achieved in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.The demise of HRT returns F1 to a 22-car grid for the first time since early in 2008. During that season the withdrawal of Super Aguri after four rounds reduced it to 20. It expanded to 24 in 2010.Kimi Raikkonen has now had 17 consecutive results in the points. Only Michael Schumacher (24), Sebastian Vettel (19) and Fernando Alonso (18) can boast a longer run.Red Bull start the season aiming for their fourth consecutive constructors' title. Only one team in F1 history has achieved the feat – Ferrari, with six, from 1999-2004.Sebastian Vettel also goes for his fourth consecutive crown, an achievement previously accomplished by just two other drivers – Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-57) and Schumacher (2000-2004).

Wayne Rooney set for Manchester United exit with Paris Saint-German and Manchester City lurking

Rooney fights for his United future as 20m bid might tempt fed-up Ferguson to sell

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

22:31 GMT, 6 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 7 March 2013

Wayne Rooney is facing a desperate fight to save his Manchester United career as manager Sir Alex Ferguson continues to harbour grave doubts about his fitness and attitude.

Ferguson stunned football by dropping the England forward to the bench for Tuesday night's Champions League defeat against Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

The United manager believes Rooney has failed to get on top of the weight and fitness issues that have dogged him since the start of the season and is fed up with waiting for an improvement.

Wayne Rooney

Benched: Wayne Rooney started Tuesday night's game as a substitute after he was axed by Sir Alex Ferguson

Close to the boss Rooney started the match on the bench - sitting just in front of Sir Alex Ferguson

Axed: Rooney's relationship with his manager is said to be tense after a difficult season at Old Trafford

With Rooney, 27, entering the final two years of his contract this summer, Ferguson knows he has a decision to make about his future.

As it stands, the Scot will not rule out selling him at the end of the season if the club can attract a bid of more than 20million.

Sources in both camps have told Sportsmail that the relationship between the pair has been tense for some time and shows no signs of getting better. Senior players say privately that they can sense it at the training ground on a daily basis.

Rooney acknowledges that he and Ferguson have not been on the best of terms for much of this season but disputes suggestions that he has not looked after himself.

Super-rich Paris Saint-Germain have an interest in Rooney, while United's neighbours Manchester City would take the former Everton star in an instant if they thought their rivals would sell to them.

City tried to buy Rooney in the autumn of 2010, prompting United to raise their wage ceiling to keep him.

His former United and England team-mate Michael Owen told talkSPORT: 'It's got to be a big worry for Rooney. It's the biggest game of the season and the manager has shuffled his pack and not included him.

'A couple of years ago, if Wayne wasn't the first-choice striker, he would have played him in left midfield or in behind the striker. For him not to start is a real kick in the teeth.

Real misery: Rooney could not prevent United crashing out of the Champions League to the Spanish giants

Real misery: Rooney could not prevent United crashing out of the Champions League to the Spanish giants

End of the road Rooney will be weighing up his future at Old Trafford after he was snubbed by Ferguson

End of the road Rooney will be weighing up his future at Old Trafford after he was snubbed by Ferguson

Dip in form: Rooney, cigarette in hand, relaxes on his honeymoon in Las Vegas

Dip in form: Rooney, cigarette in hand, relaxes on his honeymoon in
Las Vegas

'Wayne will either get his head down, try to improve and force his way back into the team, or he'll think, “The manager has not picked me for the biggest game, he obviously doesn't fancy me”, and it might not be the end of the story.'

Meanwhile, UEFA have charged United for failing to fulfil their media obligations after Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat that put them out of the Champions League.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Bidding war: Both Manchester City and PSG would be interested should United choose to sell Rooney

Not only did Ferguson not attend the press conference after the game, United also failed to provide two players for post-match interviews, as mandated under UEFA rules.

Nani, who was sent off by referee Cuneyt Cakir with United leading 1-0, will definitely be banned for one European game at least.

His case, and United's, will be heard by UEFA on March 21. It will not be known if players like United defender Rio Ferdinand will face sanction for their actions after the game until Cakir files his report, probably later today.

Michael Vaughan mocks Australia after innings defeat in India to stoke Ashes fires

England legend Vaughan stokes Ashes fires by mocking Aussies' miserable loss in India

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

12:08 GMT, 5 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:08 GMT, 5 March 2013

There a few things more enjoyable for an English cricket fan than watching Australia squirm. For former captain Michael Vaughan the feeling is no different.

The 2005 Ashes-winning skipper spent the morning goading England's old foe as the Baggy Green suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of India in Hyderabad.

The defeat means Australia became the first side in history to suffer an innings defeat having declared in their first innings, and Clarke admits they could have few complaints about the result.

Headache: Australia captain Michael Clarke is in charge of a poor Australia side

Headache: Australia captain Michael Clarke is in charge of a poor Australia side

Flop: Phillip Hughes is struggling again after being recalled as Australia's No 3 batsman

Flop: Phillip Hughes is struggling again after being recalled as Australia's No 3 batsman

Australia are in England this summer for the first of back-to-back Ashes series against Alastair Cook's side, where they will be looking to wrestle back the urn for the first time since 2006.

And after watching Michael Clarke's side toil in India, Vaughan took to Twitter to poke fun.

Those were the days: Michael Vaughan (centre) led England to Ashes glory in 2005, beating the greatest Australian side of them all

Those were the days: Michael Vaughan (centre) led England to Ashes glory
in 2005, beating the greatest Australian side of them all in the five-match series

Raise your bat: Vaughan celebrates his century at Old Trafford in the third Test in 2005

Raise your bat: Vaughan celebrates his century at Old Trafford in the third Test in 2005

Raise your bat: Vaughan celebrates his century at Old Trafford in 2005

In the first of his tweets, he wrote:
'Breaking news. Anyone that has bought a fifth day ticket for this
summer's Ashes will receive full refund due to Aussie team that won't
make it.'

He then added: 'What do you call a great Australian cricketer Retired…..'