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Afghanistan considers that Pakistan holds significant influence over Taliban, who are believed to launch attacks from bases in the country

Ricky Ponting stunned by Simon Katich axing from Australia team

Ricky Ponting admits he was surprised by Cricket Australia's decision to drop opener Simon Katich from their list of contracted players.

ECB crackdown after five players show dissent to umpires

County cricketers have been warned about their behaviour. With five players found guilty this week of showing dissent at umpires' decisions the game is determined to prevent it spreading.

Matt Prior warned after smashed window

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has been told he "should be more careful in future" after being reprimanded by the International Cricket Council following an incident at Lord's yesterday in which a dressing room window was smashed.

Rajan's Wrong 'Un: Afridi's row sparks yet more politics and palaver in Pakistan

Afridi can be prickly but the significance of this lies in the continuation of a sordid pattern.

Pakistan is '98% sure' US drone killed militant leader

The reported killing of Ilyas Kashmiri – a high-profile al-Qa'ida leader who had even been tipped to assume the top spot – by a CIA drone in Pakistan's South Waziristan province marks a major success for Washington, coming just over a month after the death of Osama bin Laden.

Sport on Film: Pitch battle that rightly gives Windies their place in history

There's a scene towards the end of Fire in Babylon when Bunny Wailer (of Bob Marley's band) stops berating his dogs and says of Viv Richards: "If he had not gone into cricket, he would surely have been a dreadlock rasta man. Real deal." It's a delightful moment that had the audience cracking up. But you couldn't help thinking how different things might have been if the Master Blaster had just sat around all day smoking big spliffs rather than flaying England's bowlers to all parts.

Twirlymen, by Amol Rajan

The resurgence of spin bowling in the past couple of decades has been a joy to behold, and in Amol Rajan the twirlers have found a historian worthy of their deceptive art.

One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre: Lyttelton, London

James Corden endeared himself to the public as Timms, one of the sixth-formers in Alan Bennett's 2004 hit The History Boys. Since then, with the sitcom Gavin & Stacey honourably excepted, his rather cocky and overbearing presence on jokey sports quizzes and at fractious award ceremonies has not been madly edifying. So it is a pleasure to report that he makes a triumphant comic return to the National as the hapless, over-stretched, two-timing servant in One Man, Two Guvnors, a deliriously daft and diabolically joke stuffed entertainment by Richard Bean that shifts Goldoni's 1743 commedia dell'arte play, The Servant of Two Masters, from Venice to the Brighton underworld of 1963.

Dashing Dilshan makes his point in timely style

There is a feeling abroad that Sri Lanka are here for the taking. It is a mystery why this should be but it is indubitably so.

Rana channels spirit of Imran to make Notts toil

Sussex 304 Nottinghamshire 145 & 135-2

Pakistan's president denies harboring Bin Laden

The president of Pakistan has dismissed claims that his country harboured Osama bin Laden as "baseless speculation" as America said it was determined to find out how the figurehead remained undetected.

Invisible Ink: No 75 - Simon Raven

Simon Raven was a cad. He had a passion for privilege, no sense of obligation, a fondness for beans on toast, and too much guilt about tipping waiters to be regarded as a gentleman.

Imran Khan urges Pakistan to speak out over US drone strikes

Imran Khan, Pakistan's cricket legend turned politician, challenged his government to "come clean" on their support of CIA-operated drone strikes during a protest which shut down NATO supply routes to Afghanistan for two days.

Pink balls set for Test cricket introduction

Pink or orange balls appear to be the most likely to be used in day-night Test matches as the International Cricket Council continues to carry out trials.

Hardeep Singh Kohli: Ignore cricketers. Listen to, er... a comedian

The No campaign's sport 'stars' claim the Alternative Vote is complicated. Far from it. It's about something as simple as fairness
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own