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England's tour of Zimbabwe next month will go ahead after the England and Wales Cricket Board pronounced itself satisfied with safety and security arrangements in the country.
In response to the concerns of several players, and following the withdrawal of Steve Harmison on moral grounds, the ECB sent John Carr, their director of operations, and Richard Bevan, chief executive of the players' union, to Zimbabwe last week to assess the situation. But the pair, who met Zimbabwe's minister of home affairs, police chiefs and members of the opposition, found nothing to warrant the abandonment of the tour.
"We have satisfied ourselves that appropriate safety and security measures will be in place to protect the England touring party and officials," said David Morgan, chief executive of the ECB. "We are also concerned about the safety and security of travelling supporters and the media, and we concluded that Zimbabwe will provide a safe environment provided that they adhere to the [British] government's specific travel advice." Morgan said that the Foreign Office and the British Embassy in Harare would help monitor the situation during the tour.
England play five one-day internationals against Zimbabwe on a tour that has been in doubt for almost two years.
* Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger ended speculation about his future at the club by signing a three-year extension to his contract on Wednesday. The deal will keep Wenger at Arsenal until at least May 31 2008, two years after they move to their new stadium. "Signing a new contract just rubber-stamps my desire to take this club forward and fulfil my ambitions," Wenger said. "I still have so much to achieve and my target is to drive this club on. These are exciting times for Arsenal."
In eight years at Highbury, the 55-year-old has won the title and the FA Cup three times each and for the last seven seasons the Gunners have not finished outside the Premiership's top two. But the Champions League remains a notable omission on Wenger's honours list, something he will be keen to rectify.
* Bryan Robson and Micky Adams have confirmed interest in the vacant West Bromwich Albion position following Gary Megson's dismissal. Robson said: "I shall be applying. It's a job I'm interested in. I've heard a rumour about me and Sir Bobby but I can assure you I have not spoken to him." Adams, who resigned as Leicester boss two weeks ago, said: "This is obviously a post that would interest me." Former Aston Villa manager John Gregory, who is in the running for the vacant Leicester job, has also made his interest known. An Albion source confirmed no one had yet been offered the post. Sir Bobby Robson played down speculation that he had been approached, saying: "This is nothing more than conjecture." Megson, meanwhile, said he had been put on gardening leave while the details of his severance were sorted out.
* The Football Association is to investigate the crowd trouble that marred the Carling Cup match between Millwall and Liverpool at the New Den on Tuesday. Riot police were called in to help deal with the disturbances near the end of the game, which Liverpool won 3-0.
The FA said it would review reports of police, the referee and both clubs. "There are no charges being issued at this stage. It is a matter of contacting the relevant parties and gathering information."
* Tim Henman made light work of Frenchman Antony Dupuis in the first round of the Swiss Masters in Basel despite being diagnosed as suffering from magnesium deficiency. Henman, top seed at the tournament in the absence of the injured Roger Federer, is on a course of magnesium supplements after complaining of feeling run-down in Madrid last week. But he was in good form against Dupuis, emerging an easy 6-3 6-4 winner.
Henman needs a good run in Basel to qualify for the end-of-season Masters Cup in Houston next month. He now faces a second-round clash with Italian Potito Starace or South African qualifier Wesley Moodie.
In Russia, Greg Rusedski reached the quarter-finals of the St Petersburg Open with a three-set victory over Radek Stepanek. He will now meet either Alex Corretja or Ivo Karlovic tomorrow.
* Glenn McGrath celebrated his 100th Test by grabbing two key wickets and putting Australia on course for a rare series victory in India on the second day of the third Test. The 34-year-old dismissed Virender Sehwag (22) and Rahul Dravid (21) as India crawled to 146 for five, still 252 behind Australia's 398 on a greenish wicket.
McGrath went for less than a run an over, finishing the day with figures of 2-20. But Mohammad Kaif, the last recognised Indian batsmen, kept local hopes of a miracle alive with 47 not out. Kaif put on an unbroken 43 for the sixth wicket with wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel.
Earlier Michael Clarke had fallen for 91 as Australia added 36 to their overnight 362 for seven.
* Amateur rider Tom Thompson was "critical but stable", in the intensive care unit of North Tees Hospital, Stockton, on Wednesday night with a serious head injury after a fall at Sedgefield. Thompson was having his first ride under Rules in the Amateur Riders' Handicap Hurdle on Just Tom, a horse that had not run for almost two years. He hit the ground after a fall at the second flight before appearing to be kicked by a following runner.
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