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.

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are talismanic figures who set the tone for their respective international sides, according to David Warner.

Australia's Smith and India's Kohli are two of the finest batsmen of their generation, occupying first and second spot respectively in the current Test rankings.

The duo are set to meet if India's tour of Australia – scheduled to begin in October – goes ahead, although significant doubt remains as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a threat.

If it should go ahead, Warner expects to see great things from the two leading men, who he says act as figureheads for their sides.

"When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs," Warner told Cricbuzz.

"They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else's morale is up. If they are out cheaply, you almost sense that on the field that everyone is … [down on morale and thinking] now we all have to step up. It's a very bizarre situation.

"They both love spending time in the middle. Virat's passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve's would be.

"Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that's how he sees things. He's hitting them out in the middle, he's having fun, he's enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.

"Virat, obviously, doesn't want to get out, but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he's going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate.

"He's going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in [to play their own game], especially in the Indian team you've got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well."

South Africa assistant coach Enoch Nkwe says the prospect of AB de Villiers regaining the Proteas captaincy has never been discussed.

De Villiers has made no secret of his desire to come out of international retirement, but last week emphatically denied reports Cricket South Africa had asked him to take a leadership role.

Quinton de Kock only replaced Faf du Plessis as white-ball captain earlier this year and a decision on the next Test skipper is expected to be announced in the near future.

Nkwe was surprised to read claims that De Villiers had been given the chance to take the captaincy and welcomed his swift denial of such claims.

He told Stats Perform: "I was shocked because from our position, we've never discussed anything like that.

"I was completely surprised because generally if something like that is going to happen myself and Mark [Boucher, head coach] would talk about it, including Graeme Smith [director of cricket], over a call, chat about ideas on who do we think would be captain going forward for however long.

"To see something like that was a complete surprise. I suppose maybe it could be someone out there just trying to make something out of nothing and I'm happy to see AB himself say that's not such.

"There's definitely been communication with regards to him returning because of the [Twenty20] World Cup and I know he would love to make an impact and win a World Cup for our country.

"That's clear, it's out there, he said it himself. But with regards to captaincy, that's pretty new to me and as far as I'm concerned nothing has been discussed behind the scenes."

Ali Bacher has urged the cricket world to accept behind-closed-doors matches could be the salvation of the sport at international level.

Bacher, 77, went from playing for and captaining South Africa to becoming the most powerful administrator in the country by the turn of the century.

Now he believes cricket must unite behind rescue plans amid the global coronavirus crisis to avert a financial calamity, insisting safeguarding broadcast income must be the priority.

Only by putting on international matches can that be guaranteed, with Bacher urging governing bodies to be as creative and receptive to the new state of the world as needs be.

He told the Times of India: "So many of us wake up every day and hope that the virus has gone. This will not happen.

"World medical experts predict that this pandemic will last anything up to 18 months. The consequences for world cricket would be very serious, unless world cricket agrees to and allows international cricket matches to be played to empty stadiums.

"The massive global TV audience would not diminish and the income the Test-playing countries would receive from the broadcasters would allow them to survive this crisis, which is unprecedented since World War II."

Bacher has urged South Africa and India to consider switching their recently aborted ODI series to a neutral territory, such as the United Arab Emirates.

He said: "Our government medical advisers have gone public and said that the coronavirus will hit South Africa the hardest in July and August. Maybe Sourav [Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India] and Graeme [Smith, South Africa's director of cricket] should be looking now at possible new venues like the UAE hoping that the airline industry will be functioning in August."

Australia have replaced India at the top of the ICC Test rankings and are also the number one Twenty20 side in the world.

India had been the top-ranked Test side since October 2016 but have dropped to third behind Tim Paine's men and New Zealand.

Australia lead the way with 116 points, with the Black Caps on 115 and Virat Kohli's side - still top of the Test Championship - amassing 114. South Africa dropped below Sri Lanka into sixth spot.

Results from 2016-17 were wiped off when the latest rankings were calculated, with matches played since May last year rated at 100 per cent and those from the previous two years 50 per cent.

Australia drew the Ashes series in England 2-2 last year before whitewashing Pakistan and New Zealand on home soil. 

There have been plenty of changes in the T20 order, with Australia rising to the summit for the first time since rankings were introduced in 2011.

They replace Pakistan, who slip to fourth, with England up to second and India into third.

World champions England have increased their advantage over India at the top of the ODI rankings to eight points.

Umar Akmal has been banned from all forms of cricket for three years, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed.

The batsman faced a hearing in Lahore on Monday over two alleged breaches of the PCB's anti-corruption code.

The 29-year-old was accused of "failing to disclose to the PCB vigilance and security department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the participant to engage in corrupt conduct under this anti-corruption code".

Akmal, who was provisionally suspended on February 20, was facing a maximum of a lifetime ban if found guilty.

The PCB issued a tweet on Monday, confirming: "Umar Akmal handed three-year ban from all cricket by Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel Mr Justice (retired) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan."

Akmal has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

England paceman Jofra Archer is having a "blast" in lockdown despite being unable to find his Cricket World Cup medal.

Archer has moved into a new flat and has had plenty of time to settle in due to the restrictions imposed in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he has revealed the winner's medal received at Lord's last July following England's World Cup final win over New Zealand is proving to be elusive.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Oh, jeez. So, the funny thing is...I have a portrait that someone did of me and sent to me, so I had the medal hanging on that.

"I moved flats, the picture has been put on a new wall but there's no medal.

"I've turned the house upside down for over a week and still haven't managed to find it."

Archer will continue the search for the biggest prize of his career to date, adding: "Trust me, there's nothing else to do in these conditions!"

The 25-year-old, who was ruled out for around three months after suffering a stress fracture in his right elbow in February, has had no trouble adapting to life during lockdown.

He said: "To be honest with you, I'm having a blast.

"I get to play Call of Duty as long as I want and I still get to train at home. I did play the cricket [video] game last week - I'll probably stick to CoD."

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.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison says The Hundred will be "even more important" for the future of English cricket due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

It has been reported that the new competition could be scrapped less than three months before the inaugural tournament is due to start.

The ECB on Friday announced there will be no professional cricket in England or Wales until at least July 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

International stars are due to fly in for from various parts of the world for The Hundred, which is scheduled to get under way on July 17.

While there is uncertainty over whether the competition will take place this year, Harrison says it must not be discarded.

"If anything this crisis and the implication long term or medium term, the case for The Hundred is even more important," he told the BBC.

"The Hundred is a profit centre for the game of cricket in this country, it will generate really important commercial value for the game, and help us achieve the second of our three priorities which is keeping the lights on through the network – making sure county cricket is really healthy and strong long into the future.

"And it will help broaden the audience for the game. There will be a huge clamour for audience coming out of this crisis, for all sport.

"I don't think this in any way dilutes the case for The Hundred, it absolutely accelerates it and makes it something cricket needs to get behind.

"We were starting from a position of strength – 180,000 tickets were sold – the quickest sale of cricket other than World Cup cricket that we've seen, so we've got to put the context of the last couple of years into a very different light.

"They are all decisions we will make but I am absolutely committed, as I think the game is, the first-class counties, they understand the importance of this competition to the future of the game and how it will help us achieve stability for everything the game has cared about for hundreds of years – that's super important to us."

Harrison also revealed there have been "multiple offers" from other countries, including Australia and New Zealand, to help finish the domestic season.

Umar Akmal will be summoned before a disciplinary hearing in Lahore on April 27 in relation to anti-corruption charges.

The batsman was charged with two alleged breaches of rules set out in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption code in two unrelated incidents.

The 29-year-old is accused of "failing to disclose to the PCB vigilance and security department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the participant to engage in corrupt conduct under this anti-corruption code".

Akmal, who was provisionally suspended on February 20, could face a lifetime ban if found guilty.

He did not request a hearing before the anti-corruption tribunal after being charged with breaches of article 2.4.4 of the PCB code.

Akmal has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

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.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has admitted that losing the captaincy of the region’s One Day International team has not been easy for him.

Holder was replaced as captain of the ODI team last September by Kieron Pollard but was retained as a player. According to the former skipper, the transition from that leadership role has been tough.

"To be quite honest, it has been tough transitioning back just as a player," Holder said on TalkSPORT recently.

According to the former skipper, first he had to contend with getting back into the team.

"In hindsight, it has been tough trying to understand how to get back in as just a player," he said.

The switch from Holder to Pollard had caught the former by surprise, learning of it during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League, a tournament he went on to win as captain of the Barbados Tridents.

"Yeah, it was an interesting time for me. I had found out earlier in the tournament that we have moved as one-day international captain. For me, it was just trying to win it [the CPL]," he said.

Just prior to the switch and since, Holder has not proven very effective in the ODI version of the game, but says this is not a bother for him because he is acutely aware of his own ability.

Many had suggested that Holder’s place in the team was in question and he would not be in it were he not captain.

To date, Holder has taken 136 wickets in 111 innings at an average of 36.38, but in his last eight innings with the ball, he has not been able to get near those figures.

In 10 innings prior to losing the captaincy, Holder had seven wickets at an average of 69.85, while in the eight he has played since, he has picked up six at an average of 66.16.

"Performances obviously haven't been there as I would've probably liked, but I'm not too disheartened," Holder said. "I don't beat myself up. I don't get too worried because I know my ability. I know what I can produce. I just know that an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner."

According to the Test skipper, he may have been suffering from a bit of burnout, having played 62 matches in 2019.

"I felt I needed the break after the India series [in December] particularly, just to refresh," Holder said.

"I had played every single series in the entire year, I played county cricket as well, and my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge. Obviously, I needed some time to go and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player and try to work out again how just to be a player as opposed to being the captain."

Despite an incredible comeback against Liverpool to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, 2019-20 was looking like far from a vintage season for Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone's side sat sixth in LaLiga when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of most sport around the world and had suffered a humiliating Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Cultural Leonesa in January.

However, six years ago they took a significant step in one of the most memorable campaigns in their history.

We look back at that and other standout sporting moments that occurred on April 9 through the years.

 

1912 – A Fenway first

It may not quite have been finished yet, but Fenway Park opened its doors for the first time for an exhibition match between the Boston Red Sox and the Harvard Crimson. After being forced to change at the nearby Park Riding School due to the clubhouse not being open yet, the players trudged through the snowy conditions to the diamond for the start of a new era. Casey Hageman threw Fenway Park's first pitch for the Red Sox to Harvard batter Dana Joseph Paine Wingate and he soon had the first of nine strikeouts.

1989 – Faldo in green

After heading into moving day in a tie for the lead, Faldo's hopes of triumphing at Augusta National and winning a second major appeared to be over when he slipped five shots off the pace upon completing his third round on Sunday morning. However, he ended up with the clubhouse lead later in the day by carding a brilliant seven-under 65 and a missed five-foot par putt on the 17th for Scott Hoch meant the two went into a play-off. Hoch's putting again let him down as he failed to close out the first sudden-death hole from two feet, and Faldo punished him by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt at the next to don the green jacket for the first time. He would go on to win the tournament twice more.

1995 – Tendulkar shows signs of greatness to come

At the age of 21, the man who would go on to be dubbed the 'Little Master' scored his fourth ODI century as India defeated Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match in Sharjah. Thanks to Tendulkar's outstanding 112 not out, India chased down their victory target of 203 with just under 17 of their 50 overs remaining. Tendulkar consequently became the youngest player to reach 3,000 ODI runs.

2013 – Dortmund deliver incredible comeback

There is something special about Champions League nights at Signal Iduna Park and the second leg of Dortmund's quarter-final against Malaga delivered a thoroughly memorable game. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg at La Rosaleda, Joaquin put Malaga ahead in the 25th minute, but Robert Lewandowski ensured Jurgen Klopp's side went into half-time on level terms. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Dortmund when Eliseu tapped in a second away goal from close range with eight minutes remaining, leaving the hosts needing to score twice more to avoid elimination. Marco Reus pulled them level in the first added minute and Felipe Santana bundled home in the 93rd minute to complete an incredible turnaround – though he appeared to be offside when he turned Julian Schieber's goal-bound effort home.

2014 – Atletico back in the semi-finals

Simeone led Atletico to Europa League glory in his first season at the helm and added the Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup in 2012-13. They appeared to be destined for new heights when they claimed a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory and book their place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1974. Koke's back-post volley kept Atletico's hopes of a Champions League and LaLiga double alive, but they were only able to win the latter after Real Madrid beat them in the European final in Lisbon.

Australia coach Justin Langer is open to the idea of playing games behind closed doors once cricket can resume after the coronavirus pandemic.

Langer watched on as his side emphatically defeated New Zealand in a one-dayer played inside an empty Sydney Cricket Ground last month.

It was due to be the first of three matches between the trans-Tasman rivals, though the series was cut short due the COVID-19 outbreak as the Black Caps returned home in time to avoid quarantine restrictions.

While there is no immediate sign of a resumption to the international schedule, staging contests without any supporters could be a viable option in the future.

"The Australian cricket team are so fortunate to play in front of big crowds every time we play," Langer told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But for the love of the game, and for still being able to entertain people through TV sets or radio, then there's value in that (playing behind closed doors).

"Yes, it's different, but we'll never, ever, ever take for granted how lucky we are, ever again. We are so lucky in what we do."

Australia are due to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in June, followed by a limited-overs tour to the United Kingdom that runs into July.

 

Jos Buttler feels players will be open to everything, including two England matches being played in the same day, once cricket returns after the coronavirus pandemic.

The explosive batsman understands the importance of the revenue generated from international matches and a crowded schedule is likely if planned series' and tournaments in 2020 are to be salvaged.

Buttler believes players will be flexible in the instance of an intense run of fixtures, even if it meant days where there were multiple matches taking place.

He also thinks there will be a surge in fan interest after the break in sport, ensuring venues would sell out for games in quick succession.

"I think we have to be open to absolutely everything," Cricket World Cup winner Buttler said to talkSPORT. "It's so difficult to plan anything because everyone is in limbo with all things going on. 

"International cricket is going to be vital to the game and the revenue that comes into the game.

"If we can get any [cricket played], or as much as we can, if that means two games in the same day, then we have to be open to that.

"Everyone who is really missing their sport, hopefully when this is all over we will all appreciate it even more and want to flock to the grounds to all the different sports to watch the games. 

"I'm sure you could fill up two grounds if you had two teams playing on the same day."

Buttler is in the process of auctioning off the shirt he was wearing when he sealed England's historic World Cup final win over New Zealand.

The 29-year-old was wearing the shirt, which has been signed by his team-mates, when he ran Martin Guptill out to conclude a dramatic Super Over at Lord's last July.

It will provide much-needed funds for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, which launched an emergency appeal to provide life-saving equipment for COVID-19 sufferers.

The highest bid now stands at £65,800, delighting Buttler, who added: "I'm auctioning off my World Cup shirt and it's obviously gone way better than I thought it would already.

"It’s an amazing amount of money. The charity that supports the hospitals started an emergency fund to buy emergency equipment they need now because of the increase in patients due to the outbreak.

"We thought that auctioning the shirt would be a great way to raise money for that."

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