There is a strong cricket theme running through sporting history on May 21 – as well as an unforgettable outing for Manchester United.

Saeed Anwar dazzled during a stunning innings for Pakistan that put him in the one-day record books, while the date is also notable in the history of Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians.

As for United, they were crowned champions of Europe for a third time in their history, but only after battling back from the brink to beat familiar foes in a dramatic final.

 

1997 – Anwar powers Pakistan with record-breaking knock

Anwar set an ODI record as he thrashed India's attack around Chennai, the opener making 194 from just 146 deliveries.

The left-hander hit 22 fours and five sixes – including three in a row off leg-spinner Anil Kumble – as he contributed the majority of Pakistan's final total of 327-5 in the Independence Cup fixture. The next highest score in the innings? 39.

Sachin Tendulkar eventually dismissed the centurion with the score on 297, though he made just four with the bat in India's unsuccessful reply. Despite a hundred for Rahul Dravid, they were bowled out for 292 to lose by 35 runs.

Anwar sat at the top of the highest scores list alone for 12 years until Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry matched his effort. However, in February 2010, Tendulkar set a new benchmark when he became the first batsman to score a double century in a one-dayer, doing so against South Africa.

2008 – Red Devils hit the spot to be crowned European champions

Moscow staged an all-Premier League final with a dramatic twist, with Chelsea missing their chance before United sealed glory.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opening goal for the Red Devils when he headed past Petr Cech, but Chelsea levelled before the break when Frank Lampard reacted quickly to a deflection to score.

There were no further goals in the remainder of the 90 minutes or extra time, meaning spot-kicks were required. Ronaldo was surprisingly the first to miss, meaning John Terry had the chance to seal victory with the Blues' fifth effort.

Yet the Chelsea skipper crucially slipped and lost his footing at the point of contact, sending his strike against a post. Into sudden-death kicks it went and, with the score at 6-5, Edwin van der Sar guessed correctly to deny Nicolas Anelka and secure the trophy in the Russian capital.

2017 – Johnson does just enough as Mumbai win again

Mumbai Indians claimed a third IPL title thanks to a thrilling one-run victory over the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad.

The eventual champions slipped to 65-5 in their innings but Krunal Pandya led a lower-order recovery, making 47 to get his side up to 129-8. Pune reached 98-2 in reply but despite a half-century from Steve Smith, came up agonisingly short.

After a late collapse left them needing 11 off the last over, they lost two wickets off as many deliveries at the start as Mitchell Johnson held his nerve with the game – and the trophy – on the line.

Needing four off the final ball to win (and three to tie to force a Super Over), Dan Christian was only able to pick up two as Washington Sundar was run out.

Shane Warne is more sentimental about representing Australia than he lets on, his former team-mate Jason Gillespie said.

In the wake of a recent Amazon documentary about the Australian cricket team, Warne hit out at the "verbal diarrhoea" from some of the country’s current and former players over the significance of the Baggy Green.

Warne pointed to an example of players wearing them when they went to watch tennis at Wimbledon, labelling it "embarrassing".

He auctioned off his Baggy Green to support the bushfire relief fund earlier this year and often preferred to wear white floppy headgear when he was playing.

Gillespie believes the hat has important significance to many players and believes it still means a lot to Warne, even if he has been "dismissive".

"If that's what Shane believes then... he's probably more sentimental about it as he probably lets on," Gillespie said to Stats Perform News.

"It did mean a lot to him. I think he was making a point and I think the point he was trying to make was that is it a piece of cloth at the end of the day."

Gillespie added: "What it symbolises and what is symbolises for me is the hard work, the sacrifice.

"The sacrifice not just for myself but I think of my parents, driving me around to cricket practice every week to play games on the weekends. 

"I remember at Christmas time when Santa got me a new bat or a new ball and after opening presents I would hound my dad to go up to the nets before Christmas lunch.

"I'm thinking, 'The poor man, all he probably wanted to do was to have a Christmas drink and to settle down for an hour but he's with his 12 year-old son up at the nets on Christmas Day'. 

"The pride in yourself for the hard work you put in and the reward - ever since I was six years of age, I wanted to play for Australia, it was just my whole being, my whole dream. 

"Everything revolved around doing the best I could to play for Australia and that's what the cap symbolises. I look at that cap and I think, 'I earned that cap'. 

"I know that Shane has maybe been a little bit dismissive about it but it still means a lot to him. He thinks of all the hard work that he had to put in. 

"But everyone is allowed to feel slightly differently about it and what it means to them. It doesn't mean that Shane cared any less, it was just his way. 

"He used to wear a more floppy hat and for more practical reasons. He didn't want to get sunburn from the harsh sun. 

"It meant a lot, it still means a lot to all of us. I'm fortunate to have my Baggy Green and it's tucked away safely so it's all good."

Jason Gillespie believes criticism of England fast bowler Jofra Archer might well be rooted in lazy stereotyping.

Archer excelled on his introduction to the international game last year, starring in England's Cricket World Cup win and then the 2-2 home Ashes series draw against Australia.

The 25-year-old claimed 55 wickets across all formats in 2019 but a tough tour of New Zealand and mixed fortunes as England were subsequently victorious in South Africa brought his performances into question.

Conjecture generally whipped up whenever the Barbados-born paceman let his speeds slip below the high speeds that allow him to thrill spectators and terrify batsmen.

Gillespie takes charge of Archer at Sussex when his commitments for England and in global T20 leagues allow.

A world-class seamer during his playing days for Australia, he feels the slights directed towards the player "couldn’t be further from the truth".

“I've been very excited by Jofra," he told Stats Perform. "Obviously, he plays at Sussex and my dealings with Jofra have been nothing short of fantastic.

"He's a very likeable young man, loves his cricket, very passionate, he's very hardworking.

"I’ve been pretty disappointed with some of the criticism levelled at Jofra. I think he suffers a little bit from perception. There's that laid-back demeanour that he has.

"He's got a few gold chains, he's got the different hairstyle, he’s got that sort of laid-back West Indian approach. He's Barbadian-born, so he has that approach.

"That perception of that laid-back attitude, people assume that he doesn’t care or he’s not putting [effort] in, and that couldn't be further from the truth. The kid lives and breathes cricket, and I think he's been fantastic."

Gillespie was tipped by some to be leading Archer in the next stage of his international career, with his name linked to the vacancy that emerged when Trevor Bayliss stepped down at the end of the Ashes.

The England and Wales Cricket Board ultimately entrusted bowling coach and former Essex head coach Chris Silverwood to step up.

Content in his roles with Sussex and Big Bash outfit the Adelaide Strikers, Gillespie insists his association with the role never amounted to anything more than gossip – although he would consider offers to work at international level.

“My name was linked with it but at no stage have I had an official interview or anything like that for any role," he explained.

"I think my name got bandied around along with a number of other coaches in the world. I'd love to be involved with international cricket at some point in the future.

"Right now, I’ve got a wonderful job at Sussex, a wonderful job at the Adelaide Strikers, and I'm really enjoying those roles.

"If something does come up in international cricket, you’d certainly have a look at it. As a career coach, you want to progress and work with the best players. Anyone would be open to having those conversations, but at the moment, my focus is on Sussex and the Strikers." 

Ireland will not play an international at home in 2020 after limited-overs games against New Zealand and Pakistan were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Black Caps were scheduled to visit in June and early July, playing a trio of Twenty20 fixtures in Bready before a three-match one-day series at Stormont.

A further two T20 contests were due to take place against Pakistan, listed for July 12 and 14 in Malahide, but those will also not go ahead as originally planned.

The latest update from Cricket Ireland follows on from the cancellation of the three ODIs against Bangladesh in May, though chief executive Warren Deutrom revealed there was no other option in the face of an ongoing global health crisis.

"We deeply regret that we can’t provide any international cricket at home to our fans this year, but we were always up against it with our entire home international programme coming in the first half of the season,” Deutrom said in a statement.

"We want to extend once again our sincere thanks to all those that worked so hard to facilitate what would have been 15 matches across seven venues over three months in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and England.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White remains hopeful the tour can be rearranged for a later date, adding: “I know our players, support staff and Black Caps fans were very much looking forward to the upcoming visit and are disappointed this decision needed to be taken."

Ireland are also set to travel to England for three one-dayers in September. It is possible that series is moved from the original dates, Cricket Ireland confirmed, with discussions still ongoing.

Babar Azam has been confirmed as Pakistan's new one-day captain, while Azhar Ali will remain in charge of the Test team.

Batsman Babar is to lead his country in white-ball cricket for the 2020-21 season, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Wednesday when announcing the new list of central contracts for the upcoming campaign, which begins on July 1.

The 25-year-old averages 54.17 in his 50-over career for Pakistan and sits third in the International Cricket Council’s batsmen rankings, behind India duo Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

He had already replaced Sarfraz Ahmed in charge of the Twenty20 side but will now be skipper in the ODI format too, though it is unclear when Pakistan will next be in action.

A one-day tour to the Netherlands was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning they may not play a 50-over fixture until they take on South Africa in October.

Ali, meanwhile, is to continue in the Test job, with Pakistan scheduled to play a three-match series against England during a tour that also includes a trio of T20 games.

"I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam for getting captaincy extensions," Misbah-ul-Haq, chief selector and head coach, said. "This is absolutely the right decision as they also require certainty and clarity on their future roles.

"I am sure they will now start looking to the future and start planning so that they can build sides that can perform at the expected levels."

Meanwhile, Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmad were the two new additions to receive central contracts – but Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were all absent from the 18-man list.

Amir and Wahab "remain in contention", however, as Misbah is hopeful the experienced duo can help aid the development of Pakistan's up-and-coming fast bowlers.

Misbah said: "The selectors have made the tough decisions to leave out Amir, Hasan and Wahab but considering Hasan missed most of the season due to an injury and Amir and Wahab decided to focus on white-ball cricket, this was the right move.

"However, Amir and Wahab are senior and experienced bowlers and they remain in contention as we believe they can still contribute to the Pakistan men’s cricket team and also mentor our young battery of fast bowlers."

Graeme Smith made an immediate impact as South Africa's director of cricket and his full-time appointment can help the Proteas build for a brighter future, according to Enoch Nkwe.

After initially taking over on an interim basis late last year, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed in April the former captain will be remaining in the role for a two-year period.

The 39-year-old - who scored 9,265 Test runs and a further 6,989 in ODI cricket - appointed Mark Boucher as head coach ahead of the home Test series against England, while another ex-international in Jacques Kallis joined as a batting consultant.

Nkwe is part of the staff as an assistant coach and feels Smith has already made a difference in the job, aided by his standing within the game.

"From a cricketing perspective, to have someone of his stature, you can almost see the confidence in general from a cricketing space, especially from the team," he told Stats Perform.

"He is an ex-player and an ex-captain who has a very good cricketing brain.

"It all happened very quickly in a short period of time. He was only initially in the position for three months and there was so much he needed to do. Understanding of systems, then at the same time try and help the Proteas and give as much support as possible to try to win and build the confidence of the public, so he had quite a lot on his plate I must say.

"Looking at the circumstances, I think he's done well. He's well aware of the circumstances and there is still a lot he needs to put in place from a system point of view.

"There's no doubt that will happen in the next couple of months and years, to ensure the foundation is as strong as it's ever been."

South Africa have struggled in all forms of the game, including failing to progress beyond the group stage of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, but Nkwe is confident Smith can help bring some much-needed stability, both on and off the field.

He added: "The fact that now we know we are dealing with someone for the next two years at least, we are able to strategically plan certain things and he will be accountable for that. Also, it will give us confidence in us being able to execute our plans properly.

"There are just so many things around his full-time appointment that, as a team, we know where we are going, what we need to do, and I look forward to not only the next two, but the next three years, because I signed until the 2023 World Cup.

"Even just in our meetings, his energy is felt and he's someone who has always has that presence. That's something that is very, very exciting and something we needed in South African cricket."

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."

Usman Khawaja has revealed he is "very shocked" at the financial situation Cricket Australia (CA) finds itself in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

CA stood down the vast majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year, with concerns over when international action will be able to resume.

Australia are due to stage the ICC T20 World Cup, as well as welcome India for a lucrative tour, yet their home schedule could be at risk because of the global health crisis.

Admitting it is disappointing how the situation has played out, Khawaja hopes CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) can work together to come through what he feels is a cash-flow problem that could have been avoided.

"I was very shocked. I knew our projections for revenue were still very high and I think they still are, depending on what happens with the India series," he told Fox Sports.

"It's a bit confusing. I don't have all the financial information in front of me, but it seems like it's more of a cash-flow problem at the moment.

"There's obviously a little bit of mismanagement there somewhere, with the portfolio and putting a lot of money into the share market.

"To me that's Business 101. To make sure you have enough cash reserves if c**p hits the fan.

"So I'm a little bit disappointed on that front ... but what's been done is done now, so it's just our responsibility as CA and ACA to work through this."

Khawaja was absent from the list of players to be handed national contracts by CA this week, having not played a Test since being dropped during the 2019 Ashes in England.

The left-hander, who averages over 40 in the longest format, still believes he is one of the best six batsmen in the country and feels the criticism of his play against spin is unjustified.

"Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I'm one of the top six batsmen in the country," Khawaja said.

"My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius.

"But the most important thing is to score runs."

Australia national selector Trevor Hohns feels Shaun Marsh's international career is probably over, while he labelled Usman Khawaja "unlucky".

Khawaja and Marsh were among those to miss out on national contracts, with a 20-man list named by Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday.

Marsh, 36, last played for Australia in mid-2019, having featured in 38 Tests, 73 ODIs and 15 Twenty20s for the country.

But Hohns said Marsh's time playing for Australia was probably over.

"Shaun, you never say never, and I'll never say never of course, but I think Shaun, I think he's now 36 or 37, is probably past representing Australia," he told a video conference on Thursday.

"We've spoken to Shaun regularly over the last 12 months and he understands the situation. He's been a wonderful player in domestic cricket, he's played some very, very good innings for Australia in Test match cricket and he'll be sorely missed.

"But what is good is that he's continuing to play the game and as a senior player playing domestic cricket around Australia, he's got a big role to play and as I suggested it's great to see players like that continuing to play and put back to state cricket."

As for Khawaja, Hohns said leaving out the left-hander was the toughest decision.

The 33-year-old batsman has not played for Australia since being dropped during last year's Ashes series.

"Usman is one of the unlucky ones, there's no doubt," Hohns said. "As we know, Usman didn't play cricket for Australia last year at all in any format after being dropped from the Ashes series.

"If I'm looking at Test cricket, Usman's form in domestic Shield cricket didn't demand that he was chosen for Australia and I think that's pretty fair. One-day cricket, he didn't play for Australia despite being a very good performer in the Marsh Cup early in the season, but the area that he operates in, like a couple of our unlucky omissions, is up the top and we're pretty well looked after up there with [Aaron] Finch, [David] Warner, [Steve] Smith and now Marnus Labuschagne so it was a difficult time for him and then of course in T20 cricket he hasn't played for Australia for some time.

"Usman obviously received rankings in a couple of those forms of the game, but those rankings weren't sufficient enough to get him into the contract list in the end."

Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh were among the players to miss out on national contracts from Cricket Australia (CA) for 2020-21.

Khawaja, 33, was dropped from the Test team during last year's Ashes, while his last ODI was also in 2019.

Marsh, 36, has been out of international action since mid-2019 and was also left off a 20-player list named on Thursday.

"As Mitch Marsh and Matthew Wade have proven there are always plenty of opportunities for those who have missed out to be reselected by performing consistently at domestic level; and importantly to make the most of any opportunity that comes their way at international level," Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.

"As is always the case there are unlucky omissions but, however, because you are not on the list does not mean you cannot be selected to represent Australia."

Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Kane Richardson and Ashton Agar were called up to the nationally contracted list.

It continues Labuschagne's incredible rise, with the right-hander averaging 63.43 in 14 Tests and 50.83 in seven ODIs.

"We feel all deserve their inclusion recognising the performances of those players in the past 12 months and, as importantly, what they can offer in the next 12 months," Hohns said.

"Marnus' rise has been meteoric and well documented, Joe has been a good Test match player, Ashton Agar’s form in T20 internationals has been exceptional, while Kane Richardson has been outstanding in the 20-over and one-day games.

"Matthew Wade's summer showed he is not only a tough but a good Test player for us. His form extended into white-ball cricket late in the summer, earning him well-deserved call-ups to the one-day and T20 Australian squads.

"After missing the list last year Mitch Marsh's recent form showed he has a lot of international cricket ahead of him as a batting all-rounder. Mitch proved this with his man-of-the-match performance against New Zealand at the SCG in the last game Australia played and a five-wicket haul in the last Test match he played on the Ashes tour."

Cricket Australia contracted player list: Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Tim Paine says Australia's players will not be greedy if they are asked to take a pay cut as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket Australia (CA) will stand down the majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year amid the COVID-19 crisis.

CA is also in negotiations with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) over player salaries.

With such uncertainty over when they will next take to the field at international level, Test captain Paine knows the players must look at the bigger picture.

"Players need to know the absolute financial positions of the game and the players aren't going to be greedy," he told ABC Radio.

"Our livelihood, all the people associated with the ACA and the players' association, their livelihood is dependent on the game of cricket being healthy.

"So at the moment if a pay cut for us is on the cards and that keeps our game thriving well into the future, then that’s something we'll certainly have to look at."

Paine was not surprised when he learned of CA's financial situation, though.

He added: "I think commercially a lot of sponsors have been pretty hard hit and it's obviously going to hit Cricket Australia at some stage then as well.

"I think there's a bit of safeguarding towards the potential of India not coming [for a tour starting in October] which is worth something like 250 to 300million [Australian] dollars."

Virat Kohli has the talent, fitness and drive to break Sachin Tendulkar's all-time runs record, according to Brett Lee.

India great Tendulkar, who celebrated his 47th birthday on Friday, retired in 2013 having scored 34,357 international runs across all formats in a 24-year career.

No other batsman has gone beyond 29,000 runs, yet current India captain Kohli is the leading active player, amassing 21,901 runs in 416 matches since debuting in 2008.

Kohli currently has a higher one-day international average - 59.33 to Tendulkar's 44.83 - and his Test number is similar - 53.62 to 53.78 - while the 31-year-old averages above 50 in Twenty20 cricket, too.

"We are talking about phenomenal numbers here, so you mentioned seven to eight years of cricket and at the rate [Kohli] is going, yes, he can definitely knock it off," former Australian bowler Lee said on Star Sports.

"It comes down to three things, there is one thing I would like to eliminate - so, you talk about talent as a batsman, he's definitely got that talent, eliminate that first and foremost.

"Then fitness - Virat Kohli has got that fitness, so for me it is all about fitness at the age of 30 and also that mental strength, the mental capacity to get through those hard times, being away from home, from his wife, or when they will have children.

"He will do it easily with his talent, it comes down to his mental strength and if he stays fit enough and I believe he has got all those three components to go past Sachin."

Having backed Kohli to better the marks of another India great, Lee was quick to point out the high esteem he holds Tendulkar in.

"But, how can you say someone can go past Sachin Tendulkar," he added. "This is God here, can someone go better than God? We will wait and see."

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."

Graeme Smith has been appointed as Cricket South Africa's (CSA) director of cricket on a permanent basis.

The former Proteas captain was given the role for three months back in December.

It had been expected CSA would look to extend his time in the job and he has now been handed an initial two-year contract.

"Graeme has made a huge impact with his energy, expertise, hard work ethic and characteristic determination and passion he has brought to the position during the six months he has served in an acting capacity," said CSA acting chief executive Dr. Jacques Faul.

"Although there is certainly a great deal of work to be done, as reflected by the performances of our various national teams, he has certainly put our cricket on an upward trajectory that provides light at the end of the tunnel.

"He has bought into all the overall pillars of our strategy and that includes the important one of transformation.

"As far as the technical and support teams he has put together are concerned, the black generic component amounted to more than 70 per cent across the board and the Black African component varied between 30 and 60 per cent for the Standard Bank Proteas for the home international season, for the Momentum Proteas for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup and for the ICC under-19 World Cup, which we were privileged and proud to host.

"He also made a number of strategic temporary appointments with Linda Zondi appointed interim independent national selector, Ashwell Prince taking charge of South Africa A and Malibongwe Maketa joining the under-19 squad as a coaching consultant."

Smith added: "My appointment brings a degree of permanency to my position which makes planning the road ahead a lot easier.

"As Dr. Faul has said, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done, not just at international level but throughout our pipeline development pathways as well but I am determined to get South African cricket back to where it belongs as one of the world leaders at international level."

Smith scored 9,265 Test runs and 6,989 in ODI cricket in a decorated career as an opening batsman for his country.

South Africa's youngest skipper, he is the most successful captain in Test history, having led the Proteas to 53 wins in the longest format.

However, they are winless in their last three series, with home defeats to Sri Lanka and England sandwiched by a whitewash in India. They also failed to progress beyond the group stage of last year's World Cup.

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.

 

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