Harbhajan's contract at Lancashire is cancelled

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The Independent Online

Lancashire have cancelled the contract of the India off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh, whose finger injury has failed to heal. Harbhajan, who had been due to arrive at Old Trafford yesterday, contacted Lancashire's cricket manager, Mike Watkinson, to say that, after a fitness test, the finger he injured during the World Cup was swollen and painful again. He is likely to need surgery to rectify the problem.

"It's disappointing that Harbhajan won't be joining us, but at least a firm decision has been taken," Watkinson said. "We wish him well for the future and trust that he will soon be fully recovered." The West Indian Carl Hooper, who has been standing in for Harbhajan, is now likely to stay to the end of the season.

Essex have signed the 22-year-old all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate. The Port Elizabeth-born player is of Dutch descent and qualifies to play in England as a European citizen.

Pakistan are to ask the International Cricket Council to review the enforcement of the players' code of conduct and the laws on ball-tampering and throwing. Lt General Tauqir Zia, the Pakistan cricket board chairman, and Rameez Raja, the chief executive, will raise the issue at next week's ICC meetings in London.

"We believe that the players' code of conduct is not being enforced consistently by match officials," Rameez said. "We also want the ICC to look at the existing laws on ball-tampering and chucking [throwing] as they are ambiguous in some areas," Rameez said.

Pakistan feel that their fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, was treated differently to other players in the recent Australia and West Indies series when he was given a two-match ban for ball-tampering after a match in Sri Lanka last month.

Zimbabwe suffered a 10-wicket defeat to Ireland in the first of three matches between the teams yesterday.

The tourists, who face England in the NatWest Series in less than two weeks, lost three early wickets at Stormont but rallied to compile 182. But that total proved inadequate as Jason Molins (107 not out) and Jeremy Bray (67no) steered Ireland to victory with more than 16 overs to spare.

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