Langer has sympathy for ball tamperers
SYDNEY • New Australia coach Justin Langer said he would have cheated too if instructed to by senior players when he first played Test cricket.
The 47-year-old former top-order batsman noted the difference was that in his era the idea would never have been countenanced by captain Allan Border or coach Bob Simpson.
Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban from international and state cricket for his part in the ball-tampering scandal which erupted in the third Test in South Africa in March and led to the resignation of Langer's predecessor Darren Lehmann.
Abusive Turan banned for 16 games in Turkey
ISTANBUL • Turkish football authorities on Thursday banned the country's best-known player Arda Turan, on loan at Super Lig contenders Basaksehir from Barcelona, for a record 16 games after he shoved and verbally abused a referee.
Turan - who will now miss the last two rounds of this season and almost half of next season - was banned for 10 matches for attacking the assistant referee, three matches for insulting him and another three matches for threatening him.
Turkish media said the punishment was the lengthiest ever handed to a player in the history of the local game. He was also fined 39,000 lira (S$12,000).
Serena commits to WTA event in San Jose
LOS ANGELES • Former world No. 1 Serena Williams will open her summer hard-court season at the July 30-Aug 5 WTA tournament in San Jose, California.
Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and defending champion Madison Keys have also committed to play in the event that is part of the build-up to the US Open.
On Wednesday, the 36-year-old Williams pulled out of next week's Italian Open. That followed her withdrawal from Madrid and raised doubts as to whether the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion will be ready for the French Open in Paris on May 27-June 10.
No retirement plans yet for Nowitzki
DALLAS (Texas) • Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki shed the walking boot on his left ankle and said he is not ready to declare that the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season will be the last of his career.
Nowitzki, who turns 40 next month, missed the final four games of the regular season after undergoing a surgical debridement of the ankle in early March. He said he is progressing on schedule and is not rushing his rehabilitation.
Chinese club refutes $2m cash bonus story
SHANGHAI • A struggling Chinese football club has dismissed as "fake news" a report that it had offered team members a combined 10 million yuan (S$2.1 million) bonus to win a game, and said a number of club staff were punished over the affair.
The Guizhou Metropolitan Daily earlier this week quoted Guizhou Hengfeng's owner Wen Wei as saying that he was offering 10 million yuan in cash if his team could beat Chinese Super League (CSL) leaders Shanghai SIPG today, for what would be only their second win this season.