Marshall leaves NZ

Wellington: New Zealand Test batsman Hamish Marshall on Friday turned down a national cricket contract in favour of playing county cricket in England as a local player. His decision means he will no longer be eligible for New Zealand. Marshall is currently playing for Gloucestershire as an overseas player but is eligible to play as a local because he holds an Irish passport. “This has been the most difficult decision of my life,” Marshall said. Marshall cannot return to the New Zealand fold until he relinquishes his local player status in England. — AFP

Chelsea sign Haim

LONDON: Chelsea completed the signing of Bolton’s out-of-contract Israel centre-back Tel Ben Haim on a four-year deal. The news ends a six-month chase for the 25-year-old who was also a target for Newcastle. Ben Haim becomes the third new addition to Chelsea’s first team following Claudio Pizarro’s signing earlier this month and the agreement that Steven Sidwell will join on July 1.

Ben Haim spent three years at Bolton. He previously played for Maccabi Tel Aviv and has played 22 times for the Israel national team. — AFP