Christopher Henry Gayle is arguably the greatest One-Day International batsman the West Indies has ever produced but today his innings in the Ultimate XI ODI edition came up short.

Gayle had, yesterday, avoided the cut and made the final six among contestants vying for the honour of being one of the two best openers the game has ever seen.

According to the SportsMax panel of experts, Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar would form the greatest partnership the game to ever grace an ODI cricket pitch.

That would leave other greats like South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan, Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar, and, of course, Gayle as bystanders.

According to the SportsMax Zone, Sharma and Tendulkar are also the best it could come up with from the shortlist of 12, of course, the Zone did not do the culling of the herd the panel did yesterday.

For the unitiated, Rohit Sharma has scored as many ODI double hundreds as there are people who have scored them, while Tendulkar is by far and away, the heaviest ODI runscorer in the history of the sport and their picks may be hard to disagree with.

Unless, of course, you’re a Fanalyst.

Fanalysts have, so far, chosen Chris Gayle as one of their two openers and have also disagreed with the choice of Tendulkar to be the man to join him, instead going for Sharma.

Tendulkar, is at this point, the reserve option for the Fanalysts, but that could all change.

Have your say in the conversation by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

The Ultimate XI ODI Edition’s discussions have started with a bang, as George Davis of the SportsMax Zone and the selection panel got into it over who should make the final six from the shortlist of openers.

There wasn’t much opposition as the Panel cut the West Indies’ Desmond Haynes from the shortlist on the first day, neither was there much of a stir when Matthew Hayden, the man who starts as opener in the Ultimate Test XI, was asked to go.

There were, however, a few ripples when Adam Gilchrist, a man who has three World-Cup-winning innings under his belt, was told he didn’t stack up well enough to make the final six players to be discussed on the Zone today.

However, major rifts developed when Sanath Jayasuriya did not find favour with two of the three panellists.

With two-thirds objecting to his appearance in today’s final, Jayasuriya had to go.

According to the voting so far, the panel, despite George Sylvester Davis’s appeals for a reconsideration, have called it right when it comes to Jayasuriya.

The Fanalysts don’t seem to think as much of Tillakaratne Dilshan or Hashim Amla as does the panel though, as they have Sourav Ganguly, Gilchrist, Haynes, and Jayasuriya, joining those two in the bottom six. The Fanalysts have also added New Zealand’s Martin Guptill to the list of those they don’t think can make it. Haynes and Gilchrist are in a statistical dead heat for one of the bottom six places.

Now here’s the truth about Jayasuriya. In partnership with Romesh Kaluwitharana, Jayasuriya is the man that made the massive totals of ODIs today possible. Thumping the ball to all parts of the ground in the first 15 overs, Jayasuriya made the work of his middle-order that much easier, as they could afford to run singles and keep the scoreboard ticking over with the expectation that normal batting would give them big scores.   

Now, if you believe, like I do, that there are some crazy Fanalysts out there, you can help change the conversation with your vote.

Fanalysts votes count heavily in deciding who makes the cut as the group holds the largest percentage weight when the votes are tallied.

The panel’s decision counts for 30 per cent of votes, while the Zone gets another 30. The Fanalysts benefit from a 10 per cent bump, giving you real sway in the conversation.

To vote for your Ultimate XI go to SportsMax.tv and click on the banner or go straight to this link.

Sangakkara was a natural behind the stumps, and for someone who was naturally a left-hander, took fine catches to his right off both fast bowlers and spinners. He could keep to Chaminda Vaas’ pace on bouncy tracks in overseas conditions as well as to Muttiah Muralitharan on spinning tracks in Sri Lanka.

He took 539 catches and also stumped 139 times in his international career. His combined 678 dismissals is the fourth most in international cricket. As far as his batting his concerned his 14234 runs in ODI cricket speaks volumes about his contribution.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara

Born: October 27, 1977, Matale

Major teams: Sri Lanka, Asia XI, Central Province, Colombo District Cricket Association, Deccan Chargers, Durham, Hobart Hurricanes, ICC World XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Kandurata, Kandurata Maroons, Kings XI Punjab, Marylebone Cricket Club, Multan Sultans, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Quetta Gladiators, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Surrey, Warwickshire

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: Sri Lanka (2000-2015)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave      BF        SR       100s     50s     4s       6s      Ct     St

404      380     41     14234    169    41.98   18048    78.86     25        93      1385    88     402    99

 

Career Highlights

  • Had a hand in 54 wickets across 36 innings behind the stumps at the World Cup, at an average of 1.5 dismissals per innings.
  • Most runs as wicketkeeper-batsman in ODI history (13,262 runs)
  • Second most stumpings in a career as a wicketkeeper in ODIs – 99
  • 1st wicketkeeper-batsman to score over 10000 runs in ODIs
  • Most wicket-keeping dismissals in ODI cricket (482)
  • ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year (2011 & 2013)
  • At retirement, he was the 2nd highest run-scorer in ODI cricket
  • 1st player to have scored 4 centuries in a single World Cup
  • Most consecutive centuries in a single World Cup (4)

Grant Flower believes Sri Lanka possess the "flair" to be contenders to win a Twenty20 World Cup that he expects to be rescheduled.

Flower took the role of batting coach when Mickey Arthur was appointed Sri Lanka head coach on a two-year deal last December.

The new coaching team have not had much time to work with the players since taking over due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are due to resume training next Monday.

Flower is optimistic the Arthur era will be a success and feels Sri Lanka can be a real threat at the next major tournament in Australia, which he believes will start later than October 18 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

He told Stats Perform News: "I suppose the beauty of T20 cricket is it can be quite hit and miss, so it's a lot easier to topple the big teams than it would be over, say, a five-day game.

"It is much more of a test of all of your skills put together in a five-day match, but in a T20 you can have a great game where a couple of your key players come off, you can be the best, so hopefully our skill levels can come through.

"They have always been good with the white ball, through a bit of innovation and their flair, a bit like the Pakistanis, so hopefully that continues."

The International Cricket Council on Wednesday denied reports that the World Cup has been postponed, but Flower is anticipating the showpiece will be put back.

"I'm always optimistic, but whether or not it happens or whether they decide to have an IPL before... I can see the T20 World Cup getting pushed back to maybe the end of the year. From what I've heard so far that's probably the way to go."

Former Zimbabwe all-rounder Flower wants to see senior Sri Lanka players realise their potential and reap the rewards of the faith that has been shown in them over the years.

He added: "There's a lot of enthusiasm here and the guys are skilful, it just needs a bit of structure and a lot of hard work, but I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have a good run here and get some decent results.

"A lot of the guys are at stages in their careers where a lot of investment has been put in them and they've been around for a while working with some good coaches, so hopefully that pays dividends."

 

- Grant Flower was speaking on behalf of The Conservation Games, a first-of-its-kind initiative from the Zambesia Conservation Alliance. To watch Grant in action, visit and subscribe to the Conservation Games Channel on YouTube.

From a guy who used to play a sheet anchor role for his team and had limited playing shots in his book, Kumar Sangakkara swiftly evolved into an attractive batsman who has almost every cricket shot in his arsenal.

He was always a good back-foot player and was brilliant at playing cut and pull shots. But Sangakkara made changes to his batting style and became a confident front-foot player as well. His cover-drives are still one of the best in the business though he always strived to play straight drives like Sachin.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Kumar Sangakkara

Born: 27 October 1977, Matale, Sri Lanka

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

Playing role: Wicketkeeper, Batsman

 

ODI Career: Sri Lanka (2000–2015)

Mat     Inns   NO   Runs   HS     Ave     BF        SR      100s     50s     4s       6s    Ct     St

404       380    41   14234  169    41.98   18048   78.86    25       93       1385   88    402    99

 

Career Highlights

  • ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year (2011 & 2013)
  • 1st Sri Lankan to pass 14,000 runs
  • 2nd most half-centuries in ODIs (93)
  • 1st player to score 4 centuries in a single World Cup
  • Most consecutive centuries in a single World Cup (4)
  • Most runs as wicketkeeper-batsman in ODI history (13,262 runs)
  • First wicketkeeper-batsman to score over 10000 runs in ODIs
  • Most wicketkeeping dismissals in ODI cricket

As an opening batsman for Sri Lanka in ODI cricket, Jayasuriya is believed to have revolutionized batting style.

Playing against legendary bowling names like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, etc., he has smashed runs against all of them. But the revolution came in the way teams approached the first 15 overs where there were fielding restrictions.

Dismissing the convention of opening the innings by carefully building a partnership for your middle order to build on, accelerating later because of wickets in hand, Jayasuriya went on the attack from ball one, increasing the average totals his ODI team was able to achieve.

At the 1996 Cricket World Cup, Jayasuriya’s all-round performance was also a major reason for Sri Lanka’s maiden victory. For his performances he was adjudged the ‘Man of the Tournament’.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Sanath Teran Jayasuriya

Born:   30 June 1969 (age 50)

Place of birth: Matara, Sri Lanka

Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

Playing Role: All-rounder, Opening Batsman

 

ODI Career: India (1989–2011)

Mat  Inns   NO    Runs     HS     Ave       BF           SR        100s    50s        4s          6s

445   433    18     13430    189   32.36      14725     91.20        28      68        1500       270

 

Career Highlights

  • Has scored four 150 + scores in his ODI career and taken four 5-wicket hauls. The most for any player who has achieved both these feats
  • Holds the record for the highest ODI innings by a Sri Lankan, 189 runs against India
  • Only all-rounder to score over 10,000 runs, capture more than 300 wickets and take over 100 catches in ODI cricket.
  • Only all-rounder to score over 1,000 runs and capture more than 25 wickets in Cricket World Cup history
  • Fourth-highest run-scorer in ODIs with 13,430 runs

Sri Lankan bowler Shehan Madushanka has been banned from all formats of cricket after he was arrested for alleged possession of illegal drugs.

Madushanka, who took a hat-trick in his only ODI against Bangladesh in 2018, was suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and faces an inquiry.

An SLC statement said: "Sri Lanka Cricket decided to suspend Shehan Madushanka from all forms of cricket, with immediate effect.

"The decision was taken following the player was arrested by the police and later sent on remand custody for alleged possession of illegal drugs.

"The decision to suspend will remain intact until a full inquiry is conducted by the SLC into the matter."

Madushanka also played in two Twenty20 internationals two years ago before being troubled by injuries.

Manchester United completed an unprecedented treble in Barcelona and NBA legend Vince Carter was also celebrating on this day 21 years ago.

Bayern Munich were on the brink of winning the Champions League at Camp Nou, but late goals from Teddy Sheringham and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secured a dramatic 2-1 victory for Alex Ferguson's men.

May 26, 1999 is also a date for Carter to reflect on with great memories, as he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, while history was made by India batsmen Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly on the same day.

A decade earlier Arsenal snatched the First Division title from Liverpool at Anfield with a last-gasp strike from Michael Thomas.

 

1989 - Thomas fires Gunners to title

It came down to the final match of the season to decide who would be crowned champions of England 31 years ago.

Liverpool had overtaken the wobbling Gunners to take a three-point lead, but a victory by a margin of two goals or more would be enough for George Graham's side to take the title.

Alan Smith put the London club in front seven minutes into the second half to get the nerves jangling even more on such a tense evening on Merseyside.

Arsenal looked to have fallen just short of winning the First Division for the first time in 18 years, but Thomas surged through from midfield to win it right at the end and Arsenal took the title on goals scored with a stunning 2-0 victory.

 

1999 - Solskjaer leaves Bayern crestfallen in Barcelona

Bayern appeared to have dashed United's hopes of becoming the first team to win the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in the same season.

Mario Basler's early strike put the Bavarian giants in front and that looked to be enough for Ottmar Hitzfeld's well-drilled side to lift the trophy at Camp Nou.

United had almost run out of ideas but with three minutes of added time shown on the fourth official's board, goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel came up for a corner that eventually resulted in Sheringham sweeping home following a scuffed shot from Ryan Giggs.

There was one final twist as Bayern were hit with the sucker punch, Sheringham nodding on another corner and Solskjaer prodding in from close range to spark wild celebrations.

 

1999 - Carter 'not surprised' by Rookie MVP gong

Carter was a revelation in his debut NBA season for the Toronto Raptors.

He averaged 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game, subsequently securing 113 of the 118 first-placed votes to be named the best rookie in the league.

Carter said after learning he had landed the award: "I can't say I'm surprised. But I'm overjoyed."

The Raptors missed out on the playoffs, but Carter gave them plenty of grounds for optimism and he has gone on to become an eight-time NBA All-Star.

 

1999 - Ganguly and Dravid slay Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka bowlers who faced India in a Cricket World Cup contest in Taunton must have had nightmares over this day in Taunton 21 years ago.

It was Dravid and Ganguly who might have given them sleepless nights as they piled on 318 for the second wicket - an ODI record at the time.

The magnificent partnership, now the third-highest for the second wicket in the 50-over format at international level, enabled India to post 373-6 and go on to win by 157 runs.

Ganguly made a sublime 183 off 158 balls and the classy Dravid 145 from 129 deliveries on a painful May day for Sri Lanka.

Relentless aggression, strong wrists and natural timing were the hallmarks of Tillakaratne Dilshan’s career.

The year 2009 was a watershed year in his career, and a huge factor was his move up the batting order to open the innings in all three forms of the game.

It was a move that proved his making, as he exploited attacking fields and amassed huge scores in all formats: he scored 11 international hundreds in the year.

He is the first cricketer in the history of the game to score hundreds in all formats as a captain.

He is the fourth Sri Lankan, and 11th player overall to score 10,000 ODI runs. Dilshan scored 1000 or more ODI runs in a calendar year four times and never failed to amass fewer than 800 runs in any calendar year between 2009 and 2015.

 

Career Statistics

Names: Tillakaratne Dilshan     

Born: October 14, 1976, Kalutara

Major teams: Sri Lanka, Asia XI, Basnahira South, Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club, Delhi Daredevils, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Kalutara Town Club, Karachi Kings, Northern Districts, Peshawar Zalmi, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club, Singha Sports Club, Surrey, Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

Career: Sri Lanka (1999-2016)         

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     BF          SR        100s   50s   4s      6s     Ct       St

330     303      41     10290    161*  39.27   11933     86.23       22     47    1111   55     123      1

 

Career Highlights

  • 4th Sri Lankan, and 11th overall to score 10,000 ODI runs
  • Scored 1000 + ODI runs in a calendar year 4 times
  • Highest score for Sri Lanka without hitting a six (161*)
  • Most runs as an opener for Sri Lanka in a calendar year (1207)

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are awaiting confirmation that India and Bangladesh will agree to tour for limited-overs series' in July.

SLC invited India to fly out for three ODIs and as many Twenty20 Internationals, while the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) are also considering the opportunity to tour for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic brought the vast majority of sport to a halt.

Ashley de Silva, the SLC chief executive, revealed there has been no official word from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or the BCB over whether they will take up the offers.

"We have made inquiries from both the India and Bangladesh boards and are awaiting a response from them," he told ESPNcricinfo.

"As of now, those series haven't been postponed."

The BCCI on Sunday stated that contracted players would not be rushed back into training camps after the government gave the go-ahead for sports facilities to reopen.

A BCCI statement said: "The Board of Control for Cricket in India has taken note of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday for containment of COVID-19 across the country. 

"Taking into the account the restrictions on air travel and movement of people till May 31, the BCCI will wait further before organizing a skill-based training camp for its contracted players.

"The Board reiterates that the safety and well-being of its athletes and support staff is paramount and will not rush into any decision that can hamper or jeopardize India's efforts in containing the spread of the virus."

There have been just 981 COVID-19 cases reported in Sri Lanka, nine of those people passing away.

Viewed purely through numbers, Muralitharan is a giant performer and is in the unique position of holding the records for most wickets in One Day Internationals as well as Test matches. 

In fact, what Murali has done in bowling is akin to what Tendulkar has done in batting.

But the spin genius has also created a fair bit of controversy as well. While some believe him to be the greatest spinner of all time by a long way, there are others who believe his achievements should be wiped from the books and deemed void.

Muralitharan’s action, because of a deformed elbow, was often questioned and may have been the reason the laws on what constitutes throwing were changed. Today, bowlers have 15 degrees of bend allowed and many believe this is because Muralitharan bowled with a bent arm at the elbow.

In 2004 Muralitharan was asked not to bowl the doosra because it violated the 15-degree law agreed upon. In truth, it was the doosra, a delivery that either went straight or turned like a leg-spinning delivery, away from the right-hander, that made Muralitharan comparable to another spinning great, Shane Warne.

In that context, there may be a point to the detractors. But detractors or not, Muralitharan’s 800 wickets cannot go uncounted and like him or not, there has never been a more prolific wicket-taker in the history of the sport.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Muttiah Muralitharan

Born: 17 April 1972 (age 48)

Place of birth: Kandy, Dominion of Ceylon

Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling: Right-arm off-break

Role: Bowler

 

Test Career: Sri Lanka (1992-2010)

Mat     Inns      Balls     Runs     Wkts    BBI       BBM      Ave      Econ    SR       4w       5w       10w

133      230       44039   18180     800     9/51     16/220   22.72     2.47     55.0     45         67        22

 

Career Highlights

  • The most Test wickets (800 wickets)
  • Most 5-wicket hauls in an innings (67)
  • Most 10-wicket hauls in a match (22)
  • Only bowler with over 50 wickets against all Test nations

From a guy who used to play a sheet anchor role for his team and had limited playing shots in his book, Sangakkara swiftly evolved into an attractive batsman who has got almost every cricket shot in his arsenal.

He was always a good back-foot player and was brilliant at playing cut and pull shots. But Sangakkara made changes to his batting style and became a confident front-foot player as well. His cover-drives are still one of the best in the business though he always strived to play straight drives like Sachin.

He scored his first double-century against Pakistan in 2002, at the 2nd Asian Test Championship final. His performance helped Sri Lanka secure the Test championship. It would have been hard to agree if someone then would have said that this lad might be in the list of scoring most double centuries, but as it is evident, Sangakkara turned all odds and finished just one short of Don Bradman’s 12.

Sangakarra's glovework cannot really be tested because his batting being as good as it was, the diminutive Sri Lankan stopped wearing them in matches, making his statistics as far as dismissals go, flounder. However, his 22 stumpings suggest he is more than competent behind the wicket.

Career Statistics

Full name: Kumar Sangakkara

Born: 27 October 1977 (age 42)

Place of birth: Matale, Sri Lanka

Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling: Right-arm offbreak

Role: Wicket-keeper, Batsman

 

Test Career: India (1967-1979)

Mat        Inns       NO         Runs      HS           Ave        BF           SR           100s         50s          Ct           St

134         233         17         12400     319         57.40     22882    54.19             38           52            182         20

 

Career Highlights

  • Completed 151 dismissals in 90 innings as a wicketkeeper
  • Averaged 39.55 when keeping wicket in Tests
  • Career Test batting average of 57.41
  • Scored 6 hundreds and 11 fifties as a wicketkeeper/Batsman 

Arsenal may have gone 16 years without an English league title, but the last time they landed the trophy it was an unforgettable triumph for Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles'.

They secured the silverware for the competition then known as the Premiership on this day in 2004, with a 2-2 draw against bitter north London rivals Tottenham.

On the same day, Sri Lanka humiliated Zimbabwe in an ODI cricket clash in Harare, bowling out the home team for 35 - the lowest innings total for a one-day international.

In 2012, Bayern Munich denied Real Madrid a place in the Champions League final when they beat Los Blancos, whose star names faltered in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

And 12 months ago, Kyler Murray chose American football ahead of baseball when he was drafted first by the Arizona Cardinals.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 25.

2004 - Wenger wonders toast title at White Hart Lane

Alan Shearer's winner for Newcastle United against high-flying Chelsea earlier in the day meant Arsenal had the chance to scoop the Premier League title at Tottenham's White Hart Lane home.

Unbeaten in the league all season, Wenger's side were not in the mood to let such an opportunity pass them by and swept into a 2-0 lead by half-time thanks to goals from Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires.

Jamie Redknapp pulled one back and Robbie Keane fired a late penalty equaliser for lowly Spurs, but Arsenal had needed just one point, so the 2-2 draw was enough to spark celebrations among the visitors.

2004 - Harare horror show

Zimbabwe lost the ODI series 5-0 and suffered back-to-back huge innings defeats in a 2-0 Test trouncing by Sri Lanka - and this surrender in the third ODI was perhaps the worst of that grisly set of results.

Dion Ebrahim top-scored for Zimbabwe with seven runs as the hosts were skittled for 35 in 18 overs, Chaminda Vaas taking 4-11 with the ball for merciless Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka missed out on a 10-wicket victory when Russel Arnold fell cheaply, but they sauntered to a nine-wicket success to ease 3-0 up in the series.

There were extenuating circumstances, with Zimbabwe hugely weakened due to their established players going on strike in a protest over political interference.

2012 - Penalty woe for Ronaldo and Ramos

Armed with a 2-1 semi-final lead from their home leg, Bayern nevertheless appeared to be seeing the Champions League final slip out of sight when Cristiano Ronaldo fired Madrid 2-0 up inside 15 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu, only for ex-Real winger Arjen Robben to revive the Germans' hopes with a penalty.

The tie was locked at 3-3 on aggregate after half an hour of a breathless second-leg battle and it remained that way after 120 minutes, meaning penalties would decide who joined Chelsea in the final.

The usually reliable Ronaldo and Kaka saw their kicks saved by Manuel Neuer, and Sergio Ramos fired over the bar, allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to convert the winning penalty.

Jose Mourinho's Madrid still won LaLiga that season, while Bayern finished empty-handed after losing the Champions League final to Chelsea - on penalties - and seeing Borussia Dortmund land a domestic double.

2019 - Cardinals take Murray with first pick

Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick in the MLB Draft in June 2018, having had his choice of sports. But his continuing success with the Oklahoma Sooners in college football meant Murray was coveted by NFL teams too, and he soon gave up the approaching prospect of a baseball career.

A quarterback, he was drafted first overall by the Cardinals and became a resounding hit in his first NFL season, winning the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

He bettered all other first-year players with 349 completions - the third-most by a rookie in NFL history - and 3,722 passing yards.

South Africa's tour to Sri Lanka in June has been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Proteas were due to play three one-dayers and a trio of Twenty20 contests against their hosts, but the trip will now have to be rearranged.

Sri Lanka and South Africa jointly announced the decision on Monday.

"It is very sad that we have been forced to take this step and we will re-schedule the tour as soon as cricket returns to a sense of normality and our international fixture list allows," said Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul.
 
"Our Proteas would not have been able to prepare properly taking our own lockdown situation into account and, more importantly, health considerations for our players, which are always paramount, were the over-riding factor.
 
"It would have been a particularly important tour for us with the three ODIs counting for the new ICC one-day league and the T20 programme being part of our preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for Australia later this year. 

"It is very frustrating for the players who want to build on the good form they showed at the backend of our home summer against Australia."

Tom Brady called time on a 20-season stint with the New England Patriots in March, having led the team to unprecedented success.

April 16 marks the 20th anniversary since the quarterback was drafted by the Patriots, before going on to become one of the most successful sportsmen on the planet.

The date is also the day a Sri Lankan cricket icon – offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan – was born, while tennis legend Arthur Ashe decided to call it a day on April 16, 1980.

We take a look at what has previously occurred across sport on this day.

 

2000 – The Brady era begins

Future superstars can somehow fall through the cracks in NFL drafts, with Brady the most significant example.

With the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, New England selected the 22-year-old quarterback from the University of Michigan.

Six Super Bowl wins, nine AFC titles and 14 Pro Bowl appearances later, Brady finally called time on his Patriots career earlier this year, joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent.

1972 – A star is born

Eighteen years prior to the start of Brady's NFL career, one of cricket's greatest spinners was born.

Muralitharan, known for a controversial bowling action, made his international debut in 1992 and went on to become the leading wicket-taker in Test and ODI history, with 800 in the longest form of the game and 534 in 50-over cricket.

The Test record went back and forth between Muralitharan and Shane Warne, up until the latter's retirement in 2007. Muralitharan took his 800th and final wicket to seal a Sri Lanka victory over India in 2010.

1980 – Ashe calls time on glittering career

The first player to win the US Open as an open event, Ashe went on to claim two further grand slam titles – in Australia in 1970 and at Wimbledon five years later.

Having appeared in four other grand slam singles finals, Ashe retired on April 16, 1980, though he continued to be involved with tennis and became the captain of the US Davis Cup team.

However, three years later, Ashe underwent a heart operation in which he is believed to have been given an infected blood transfusion from which he contracted HIV.

The virus was diagnosed in 1988, but Ashe did not make it public until 1992. He passed away the following year, at the age of 49. The main court at New York's Flushing Meadows is named after him.

2011 – Derby delight ends Man City's miserable FA Cup run

Manchester City have become one of the leading teams in world football in recent seasons but, in 2011, they were still growing following the takeover by Sheikh Mansour three years previous.

But City took a huge stride towards their first FA Cup triumph in 30 years thanks to Yaya Toure's strike against rivals Manchester United in the semi-final of the 2011 FA Cup.

Roberto Mancini's side went on to defeat Stoke City in the final, before clinching their maiden Premier League title in dramatic fashion on the last day of the following season.

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