Quinton de Kock has revealed AB de Villiers was "definitely in line" to play for South Africa in the T20 World Cup this year.

Proteas legend De Villiers retired from international cricket in 2018 but has made no secret of his desire to make a comeback.

The T20 World Cup was due to start in Australia in October but on Monday was officially postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa white-ball skipper De Kock says 36-year-old batsman De Villiers was on course to feature in the tournament if it had gone ahead as scheduled.

The wicketkeeper-batsman told the Cricket Connected show on Star Sports: "He was definitely in line. If fit, I would have loved to have AB de Villiers.

"I think any team would have loved to have AB de Villiers in their team. While we were pushing for him, now we will have to see when the T20 World Cup is going to happen now."

De Villiers last played for his country in the shortest format in October 2017.

Only JP Duminy has scored more T20 runs for the Proteas than De Villiers' tally of 1,672 from 75 innings, including 10 half-centuries.

Australia coach Justin Langer believes his team must tour England if it is possible in 2020, as international cricket aims to get back on track after the impact of coronavirus.

After a four-month break, Test cricket resumed on Wednesday with a rain-hit first day of England's behind-closed-doors match against West Indies in Southampton.

Australia were due to tour England for a white-ball series starting on July 3, with new dates for the rescheduled trip yet to be confirmed.

With the Twenty20 World Cup still due to be played in Australia in October, Langer believes the tour of England also has to be a priority.

"I think we have to go to England. There's lots of challenges, of course, but we have to find solutions to make sure that can happen if possible," Langer told reporters.

"That's my view. I think for the health of world cricket.

"If things out of control happen and we can't end up going, at least we can say we've done everything in our power to make it happen."

Langer also claimed Cricket Australia (CA) should be willing to let its star names – such as Steve Smith – play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), with preparation for the T20 World Cup vital.

"I think we have to, talking frankly," said Langer, who would even let players leave if it meant them missing part of the domestic season in Australia.

"I'll always look for win-win situations and hopefully we do that when we get some clarity on what's happening with the schedule."

India will tour Australia later in 2020, with a four-Test series scheduled.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani does not believe it is realistic to expect the Twenty20 World Cup to be staged this year.

The competition in Australia is due to start on October 18, but it appears it may be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said it would be "unrealistic" and "very, very difficult" for the World Cup to go ahead as scheduled.

Mani is also struggling to see how it would be possible for the event to take place this year.

He said: "In my opinion I think [the World Cup] will probably be deferred for a year. The ICC [International Cricket Council] has time because ICC events were supposed to happen in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

"The gap in the middle can be filled and this will be deferred. That is where the talk is headed towards. What event will happen first and where, those talks are happening.

"It is a big risk that God forbid, in the middle of a big tournament, if a player gets an infection, the panic from that will be too much so we can't take that risk."

He added: "The biggest challenge in Australia - although Australia and New Zealand they have controlled Covid-19 - their governments are very cautious.

"If it is played this year they will likely insist it happens in a bio-bubble. Like with the Pakistan team in England, teams come, stay in a hotel, with no crowds.

"This is okay for one or two teams but when 12-16 teams play in a T20 tournament, it becomes an impossible thing. I don't think it is feasible today that there is any ICC event in 2020."

Mani expects a decision to be made within four weeks.

He said: "Cricket boards are one stakeholder. Another stakeholder is the broadcaster - Star is the broadcaster, they will see their position, what is better for them.

"Other than full members, associates also get money from ICC events so discussions are on with as to what their priorities are.

"But you'll see that in the next three-four weeks a decision will be taken on this. There is a conference call next week. We've had four-five con calls on this in the last month.

"Obviously a decision will have to be made about where the first event will be. Right now it was to be Australia, then India and then a gap of one year and then India for the World Cup.

"Now we have to see whether it will be Australia first, or India, to see who will host in 2022."

Cricket Australia has warned it is becoming "unrealistic" to expect the T20 World Cup to take place as planned this year.

Chairman Earl Eddings said the effect of the coronavirus was threatening to make it impractical to bring cricket teams from across the globe to Australia.

The tournament is scheduled to run from October 18 to November 15, and a ruling on whether it should go ahead is due to be taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in July.

The ICC has been hoping it can still take place, stating in May that "a number of contingency plans are being explored".

However, Eddings said on Tuesday: "While it hasn't been formally called off this year, or postponed, trying to get 16 countries into Australia in the current world, where most countries are still going through COVID spiking, I think it's unrealistic, or it's going to be very, very difficult."

Speaking to reporters in a conference call, Eddings added: "The ICC are having meetings as we speak, it's a bit of a movable feast at the moment."

Cricket Australia on Tuesday appointed an interim chief executive, choosing T20 World Cup local organising committee CEO Nick Hockley for the position.

West Indies are the reigning T20 World Cup champions, having beaten England in the 2016 final.

Kevin Roberts has left his post as Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive barely halfway through a three-year contract.

The national governing body said it had parted company with Roberts and replaced him on an interim basis with Nick Hockley.

Hockley is chief executive of Australia's local organising committee for the T20 World Cup, a tournament the country is due to host in October and November and is in major doubt due to the coronavirus crisis.

CA chairman Earl Eddings said: "Cricket, like all national sports, has been going through a period of significant change and – in recent months we have had the added uncertainty delivered by COVID-19.

"The entire cricket community has been affected and difficult decisions have been – and will continue to be necessary – to ensure that cricket at every level is in the best shape it can be now and in the future."

Eddings said CA would be "continuing on with our restructure programme" on Wednesday but would not discuss the prospect of redundancies "out of respect" for staff.

Roberts spent 20 months in post before leaving the role. CA stated on its website Roberts had resigned, while Eddings said he had personally "made these changes today".

As Hockley began his tenure, he said: "Whilst it's been an unsettling time, it is an absolute privilege to be asked to take on this role, even on an interim basis.

"It is without doubt one of the great jobs in Australian sport and with that comes an enormous responsibility to the organisation and to the broader game."

The pandemic has hit Australian sport hard, with a number of international matches played behind closed doors or cancelled, while the Sheffield Shield campaign had to be curtailed.

There is now the danger of the T20 World Cup being cancelled or postponed, either of which would be a further major blow.

Hockley suggested there may be brighter times around the corner, however, saying: "I really see one of my priorities to help the board provide really clear direction as we move forward to what we hope is a fantastic summer."

The ICC has delayed a decision over the respective fates of the men's T20 World Cup and women's Cricket World Cup in order to continue exploring contingency plans over the next month.

Australia is due to host the men's T20 competition between October 18 and November 15 but the status of the tournament remains unclear due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while the women's 50-over event is slated to take place in New Zealand from February 6 to March 7 next year.

Last month, the ICC denied reports a decision had been taken to move the T20 World Cup back to next year, although Cricket Australia said it was braced for the postponement.

Following an ICC Board meeting on Wednesday, the governing body said it will "continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved."

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport. 

"The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.

"We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well informed decision."

Cricket Australia (CA) is braced for a huge financial hit due to the possible postponement of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, as well as playing home games without spectators. 

Speaking to the media on Friday, CA chief executive Kevin Roberts predicted the governing body stands to miss out on 80million Australian dollars due to the potential changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Admitting there is a “very high risk” of the global T20 tournament being pushed back from the original plan of October and November this year, Roberts outlined the expected missed income due to such a delay. 

However, the bigger blow is a home summer without any fans present at international fixtures, while there is also the extra cost of the biosecurity measures required to host opposing teams. 

"The likelihood of significant crowds is very slim - ordinarily that would deliver well over $50m revenue to CA," Roberts told reporters. 

"The T20 World Cup is a big question and that's a factor of perhaps $20m. We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November, but you would have to say there's a very high risk about the prospect of that happening. 

"And it's likely that our biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of $10m." 

Australia are due to host Zimbabwe in one-day internationals in August, then West Indies arrive for T20 games in October. As for Tests, Afghanistan are due to play one in Perth in November, followed by a four-match series against India, who complete their tour with three ODIs in January. 

New Zealand are the final visitors of a packed schedule, making the short trip for three one-dayers and a one-off T20 early next year. 

On the recently released schedule, Roberts remained cautiously optimistic, adding: “We're very optimistic that we will be able to stage the India men's tour and the other inbound tours for the season. 

"But we're realistic enough to know they will look very different to a normal summer. We have been forced to effectively plan for the worst and hope for the best." 

Alex Hales' return to the England team does not appear imminent after limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan suggested "more time" is needed before the opener can be forgiven.

Hales has not played for his country in any format since March 2019 after he was removed from the Cricket World Cup squad following an "off-field incident", with reports claiming he served a suspension for failing a drugs test.

England went on to win that tournament but Morgan has not forgotten how his team's preparations were disrupted by Hales.

All-rounder Chris Woakes recently stated he would welcome Hales back into the fold, but ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is due to begin in Australia in October, Morgan stressed he does not think enough water has passed under the bridge.

"Alex is in a unique position, probably in a position nobody else has found themselves in before," Morgan told reporters.

"On the cusp of a World Cup, the huge breakdown in trust between him and the players was extremely dramatic, given the circumstances surrounding the four years and the build-up and the way things unfolded.

"I've spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back to playing cricket but, like in life and in any sport, when there's a breakdown of trust, the only healer in that is time.

"It's only been 12 or 13 months since the incident which could have cost us four years of hard work.

"Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, I think it might take some more time, yes."

Hales, 31, scored the second most runs in last season's Big Bash League and Morgan is the only English batsman to have scored more runs than him in T20 internationals.

His unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains the highest individual score for an England player.

"It's obviously not about performance with Alex," Morgan added.

"Alex is a fantastic player, it's never been discussed whether he's good enough to be in the squad or not.

"Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field, values we adhere to or do our best to adhere to, and Alex showed complete disregard for them.

"Building up that for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line."

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.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has denied reports that the Men's T20 World Cup in Australia has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been reported that the tournament, due to begin on October 18, will be put back to next year.

The ICC responded on Wednesday by insisting that is not the case and it is planning for the competition to go ahead as scheduled, but continuing to explore alternative options. 

A statement from the governing body said: "Reports of a postponement of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 are inaccurate and planning for the event continues whilst a number of contingency plans are being explored in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the COVID-19 virus."

The ICC also revealed no decision has been made over the process for naming a successor to chairman Shashank Manohar, who steps down this month. 

"The ICC Board met yesterday to discuss the process for electing the next chair of the ICC," the statement continued.

"No final decision was taken regarding the election process and the subject will be discussed further at the next ICC Board meeting on Thursday.

"The existing chair confirmed he was not seeking any extension to his term but would support the Board to ensure a smooth transition."

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts remains hopeful a squad will travel to England for a limited-overs tour in September.

The coronavirus pandemic has put the English season on hold until at least July 1, yet the England and Wales Cricket Board is still working on proposals to stage international games on home soil in 2020.

A scheduled Test series with West Indies in June had to be postponed but could still be part of a rearranged fixture list, with action potentially getting under way in early July.

Pakistan could also still visit to play Tests and Twenty20 games, while Roberts declared there is "some chance" Australia will make the trip - so long as there are no health risks - later than originally planned.

England were due to take on their Ashes rivals in a trio of T20 fixtures and a three-match ODI series in July.

"I think there's some chance we could send a team over," Roberts told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"Obviously we won't jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we're due to tour. We hope they go off without a hitch."

Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told Sky Sports' Cricket Show that they intend to pick a 25-man squad for a tour that will see fixtures staged at biosecure venues.

"We are trying to get to England early July so that we can get the quarantine done," Khan said.

"If we can practise during that time then great, if not then it gives us just under three weeks to practise.

"We are told there are going to be two venues (to stage matches). We have not been told which the two venues are. We are also told there is going to be a third venue, which is going to be our base while we are in England."

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith believes there is a "very good chance" the T20 World Cup will go ahead early in 2021.

The event, which is scheduled to take place in Australia between October 18 and November 15 this year, remains in doubt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Smith says the Proteas are preparing for all eventualities.

"If it does get postponed, we're looking at February or March next year," he told reporters on Thursday.

"We are consistently looking at strategies for tours, what the FTP [Future Tours Programme] looks like, what our focus is going to be over the next period of time.

"We'll have to assess players on form, as was always going to be the case. When that event comes around, we will look at what the best squad is that we could possibly send to give us an opportunity to win the trophy.

"I think the key at the moment, across the board from players to coaches and operational staff, is to try and make sure that we're ready for when the opportunity arises to play cricket again and then we'll have to assess players quickly.

"The hope was that we would have 14 T20 games before the World Cup in October and that's not going to happen anymore. There is a very good chance it's going to be shifted into the beginning of next year, so we'll have to consistently assess.

"There are so many things up in the air, so the key is just to be ready."

CSA CEO Jacques Faul believes delaying the tournament would not necessarily have a huge financial impact.

"The T20 World Cups gets sold and the money is essentially distributed to the members," he said. 

"I don't think a delay in the tournament would lead to a cut of that funding. As long as it takes place within the same financial year, then it should be fine. 

"If it doesn't take place or if it is delayed for a longer period, then it would have an impact."

There is growing optimism the Indian Premier League (IPL) could still be staged in 2020.

The competition, originally scheduled to begin in March, was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic and it had been feared there would be no opportunity for it to take place this year.

However, Rahul Johri, CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), underlined the governing body's desire for the IPL to go ahead.

The action would not be able to begin until after India's monsoon season, which runs until the end of September, which would put it in a scheduling conflict with the Twenty20 World Cup, due to start in October.

But Johri appeared confident over the prospect of the IPL going ahead, suggesting it would provide a boost for fans and the economy.

"IPL is one of the greatest engagers. More people watched the IPL last year than those who voted for general elections," he said at the TCM Sports Huddle Webinar.

"For sponsors, cricket is a leader and it will lead the way. The recovery will be sharper than a V-shaped recovery.

"We will be guided by the government guidelines. Our advisory says: IPL is suspended till further notice.

"We are engaging with various agencies. After the current phase of lockdown ends, there is the monsoon. Cricketing activities can start only after monsoon. By then, hopefully things will improve."

Johri was insistent that players from all over the world would have to be involved for it to constitute a proper IPL campaign, all but ruling out a league consisting entirely of homegrown talent.

"The flavour of IPL is that best players of the world come and play, and everyone is committed to maintaining that flow," he said.

"But it will be a step-by-step process. We can't expect normalisation tomorrow."

India is currently under government lockdown until May 31.

Prior to their memorable triumph in May 2010, England had endured a difficult relationship with Twenty20 cricket. They were always committed, but it had become complicated.

The England and Wales Cricket Board led the way with the format in the early 2000s, pioneering T20 as a vehicle to help counties attract crowds with a shorter, sharper product aimed at those less inclined to stick around and watch for a whole day.

Yet the head start on other countries failed to help at international level. At the inaugural ICC World T20 event in 2007, England plumped for domestic specialists and recorded just one win on South African soil in five outings.

It was still an unforgettable trip for Stuart Broad, though, as he went the journey during a Yuvraj Singh barrage that resulted in six successive sixes in one over from the seamer.

Two years later and England expected better on home soil. There was an improvement in terms of results, with the team recording two victories. However, one of those was not against the Netherlands, who shocked the hosts and the sporting world on opening night at Lord's.

So, when Paul Collingwood's squad travelled to the 2010 edition in the West Indies, expectations were about as high as the limbo poles found on the decks of the fabulous cruise liners floating around the Caribbean islands.

Still, timing is everything.

It was a key factor for Craig Kieswetter, who less than three months before the tournament made 81 in a hurry as the England Lions upset their senior counterparts in Abu Dhabi.

Born in South Africa, the wicketkeeper-batsman had only just qualified for England, yet served notice of his talents in front of an intrigued head coach in Andy Flower. Michael Lumb, his opening partner that day, also impressed, making an unbeaten half-century.

They would make their international T20 debuts together when England opened their campaign against West Indies in Guyana on May 3, a lively game ruined by rain as the hosts triumphed on the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Bad weather 24 hours later also cut short England’s other outing in the initial group stage, though the timing of the downpours perhaps worked in their favour. In reply to a below-par 120-8, Ireland were 14-1 when the match was abandoned. A point apiece meant England moved on to the Super Eights.

There, they quickly worked up a head of steam. Well, actually a lack of it. Rather than bowling faster, analysis had revealed the benefits of easing up on pace while still banging it in short. With a method to the madness, the slower-ball bouncer barrage came about.

Timing was suddenly made tough for batsmen, who swung around like a blindfolded child attempting to connect with a pinata at a birthday party. What summed up to no more than a long hop got surprisingly successful results; innocuous deliveries somehow picked up wickets, fielders often swallowing up poorly timed shots in the deep.

Still, perhaps the most crucially timed occurrence did not happen anywhere near a cricket pitch in the Caribbean, but back in England instead.

Kevin Pietersen had just made a half-century – his second in as many matches – in the victory over South Africa when it was announced he would be flying back to London for the birth of his first child. His departure left a sizeable void and it was unclear if he would need to return – England had to beat New Zealand without him to progress.

While KP focused on family matters, his team-mates delivered against the Black Caps, allowing the in-form batsman to mark the recent new addition with another pivotal knock, this time in a semi-final thrashing of Sri Lanka.

Pietersen made runs in the final too, as did Kieswetter at the top of the order, though only after England’s seamers had put the squeeze on Australia in the first innings, aided – of course – by a friendly bumper barrage. A target of 148 was straightforward.

England, led by captain Collingwood and with a loyal crew following orders, had sailed away with first major trophy in limited-overs cricket, securing the spoils with a glorious seven-wicket win over their old rivals.

Those painful memories of what happened in 2007 and 2009 were suddenly banished. In 2010, England timed it just right.

It is 35 years since Michael Jordan was named NBA Rookie of the Year and England claimed an elusive first major one-day trophy on this day a decade ago.

Jordan has been in the headlines with "The Last Dance" documentary going down a storm 35 years after he was named best rookie in the league.

May 16 was also a day England cricket lovers can reflect on with great memories, having beaten fierce rivals Australia to win the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 final in Bridgetown, Barbados.

It has also been a day of great significance for former Italy striker Roberto Baggio.

 

1985 - A sign of things to come from magnificent Jordan 

Making the step up to the NBA was no problem for Jordan, who lit the league up in his rookie season.

He finished third in the scoring charts and fourth with his tally of steals, steering the Chicago Bulls into the playoffs for the first time in four years.

In the first 35 games of his NBA career Jordan scored a total of 918 points; Elvin Hayes is the only rookie since 1963-64 with more (1,052).

Jordan averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.39 steals in his debut season, so there was really only going to be one man landing the gong. 

 

2004 - Please don't go, Baggio 

It was on this day 16 years ago that the classy Baggio played the last match of his magnificent career.

The majestic playmaker was unable to celebrate a fitting winning finale, his Brescia side losing 4-2 at Milan.

A packed San Siro gave the ex-Italy maestro an emotional send-off, though, rising to give Baggio a standing ovation when he was substituted late on.

Both sets of players also stopped to applaud the 37-year-old, who had been among the best players in the world when in his prime.

 

2010 - England conquer in the Caribbean

It was England's day at the Kensington Oval, where they won the third edition of the men's T20 World Cup by seven wickets.

Australia posted 147-6 after Paul Collingwood put them in, Ryan Sidebottom taking 2-26 and David Hussey top scoring with 59.

England cruised to victory following a blistering second-wicket stand of 111 between Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen. 

Kieswetter was named man of the match after smashing 63 from 49 balls, with Pietersen's swashbuckling 47 coming off just 31 deliveries before Collingwood and Eoin Morgan put Australia out of their misery.

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