The International Cricket Council (ICC) says there is no evidence to merit launching an investigation into allegations that the 2011 Cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka was fixed.

A criminal probe was launched in Sri Lanka following claims made by Mahindananda Aluthgamage, the country's sports minister at the time of a final won by India in Mumbai nine years ago.

Aluthgamage alleged that Sri Lanka had "sold" the World Cup, prompting a special investigation to be opened.

Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Upul Tharanga were called in for questioning, but police this week dropped the probe. Mahela Jayawardene was due to be questioned but the investigation was dropped before he appeared.

The ICC on Friday said the governing body has not received any information to suggest there was any wrongdoing.

ICC anti-corruption code general manager Alex Marshall said: "The ICC Integrity Unit has looked into the recent allegations regarding the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final 2011.

"At this time, we have not been presented with any evidence that supports the claims made or which would merit launching an investigation under the ICC anti-corruption code.

"There is no record of any letter regarding this matter sent by the then Sri Lanka sports minister to the ICC and senior ICC staff at the time have confirmed they have no recollection of receiving any such letter which would have led to an investigation.

"We have no reason to doubt the integrity of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final 2011.

"We take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously and should we receive any evidence to corroborate the claims, we will review our current position."

India have pulled out of tours to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe because of fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released a statement on Friday confirming the team's withdrawal.

It comes after Sri Lanka Cricket had already announced the cancellation of the tour, which was set to include three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches.

India were scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka on June 24 and then to Zimbabwe for a three-match ODI series starting in August.

A BCCI statement added: "The BCCI is determined to take steps towards the resumption of international and domestic cricket, but it will not rush into any decision that will jeopardise the efforts put in by the central and state governments and several other respective agencies in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
 
"The office-bearers have been taking note of advisories issued by the government of India and the board is committed to fully comply with the restrictions imposed and guidelines issued. The BCCI will continue to study and evaluate the changing situation."

India have pulled out of a limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka that was due to begin this month.

The three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches that had been billed could now take place in August, according to reports.

Confirmation of the matches in June and July being called off came from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), with the national board citing coronavirus concerns as the reason.

An SLC statement read: "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) informed Sri Lanka Cricket that due to the prevailing circumstances revolving around COVID-19 pandemic, the cricket series, which included three ODIs and three T20i matches will not be feasible."

SLC quoted a message it had received from the BCCI, confirming a wish to abide by cricket's future tours programme (FTP), provided health assurances have been received.

That BCCI message said it would need "to seek the advice from government of India and the health regulatory authorities before taking any decision for the resumption of cricket".

According to Sri Lankan newspaper The Island, India would be prepared to tour in August if they obtain governmental permission to make the trip.

Bangladesh are due to tour Sri Lanka in July and August for a three-Test series, but the Ceylon Daily News this week reported those matches were in doubt.

It quoted Bangladesh Cricket Board director Akram Khan as saying the "chances are very slim" of the tour going ahead in its current calendar slot.

A wrist-spinner who bowled off-breaks, and turned his doosra by yards, he was impossible to fathom, physically and through measurement. He could touch his forearm with his little finger and rotate the metacarpals through a full 360 degrees.

For more than a dozen years Murali remained Sri Lanka’s ubiquitous match-winner, hauling up wickets by the buckets, 534 in One-Day Internationals. There were three World Cup finals along the way, the first in 1996 an epochal triumph for the island nation.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Muttiah Muralitharan

Born: April 17, 1972 (age 48), Kandy, Dominion of Ceylon

Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

Playing Role: Bowler  

 

ODI Career: Sri Lanka (1993-2011)

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

350        341       18811   12326     534       7/30     7/30       23.08     3.93     35.2      15      10       0

 

Career Highlights

  • Most One-Day International wickets (534)
  • Average of 23.08 in ODIs
  • Highest career peak ODI Bowling Rating by a spinner (913)
  • Second most World Cup scalps (67)

Romesh Kaluwitharana debuted in Sri Lanka’s One-Day International team in 1990 against India but did not bad as his side, chasing down 136, romped to victory on the back of Aravinda de Silva’s unbeaten 63. Then, Kalu was considered a wicketkeeper who could bat a bit, but with no partner for Roshan Mahanama at the top of the order, his chance would come. Kaluwitharana would forge an opening partnership with another person thought to be unlikely to suit the spot, Sanath Jayasuriya. The partnership was legendary, transforming the ODI game completely, as the batsmen blasted the opposition off the park in the first 15 overs of the game when generally, openers were looking to solidify themselves at the crease in the hopes of continuing on to a big score. The two were fearless and their exploits made for a romping 1996 World Cup victory. His opportunities diminished after 2000 and the arrival of Kumar Sangakkara, but he still managed to distinguish himself as a wicketkeeper in the ODI game with more than 200 dismissals.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Romesh Shantha Kaluwitharana

Born: November 24, 1969, Colombo

Major teams: Sri Lanka, Colts Cricket Club, Galle Cricket Club, Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: Sri Lanka (1990-2004)

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

189    181    14     3711          102* 22.22 4776          77.70 2       23          411    17     132          75

 

Career Highlights

  • Helped introduce aggressive batting approach in first 15 overs
  • 132 catches and 72 stumpings in 189 ODIs
  • Scored 3,711 runs at an average of 22.22

A 13-man Sri Lanka squad will start a 12-day residential training camp in Colombo on Monday.

The players and four members of the coaching team and support staff will be based at the Colombo Cricket Club for just under a fortnight.

They will stay in a hotel throughout the camp and have strict health regulations to adhere on their return after a lockdown was imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The players called up were not named, but Cricket Sri Lanka stated they were primarily bowlers and the squad covers all formats.

They will undergo conditioning work after a lengthy spell without playing early in the Mickey Arthur era.

Sri Lanka are awaiting confirmation over whether they will host India and Bangladesh in June or July when they get the green light to play again.

While an undoubted talent, Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva crowned himself in international glory with a century in the 1996 World Cup final to give the country its first hold on the title.

At the time of Aravinda’s arrival on the international scene, Sri Lanka were a team on the up as a force in world cricket, but their batsmen were often guilty of not being able to perform away from home and were suspected not to have the tools to deal with real pace bowling. Standing at 5 ft 3 in, Aravinda would become one of the giants who served to lay waste to that particular thought.

He cut and pull with verve and possessed a beautiful cover drive that would bring him 11 centuries and 64 fifties, of course, none of them as memorable as that 124 against Australia in the World Cup final.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Pinnaduwage Aravinda de Silva

Born: October 17, 1965, Colombo

Major teams: Sri Lanka, Auckland, Kent, Nondescripts Cricket Club

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

 

ODI Career:   Sri Lanka (1984-2003)        

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

308      296     30     9284     145    34.90    11443     81.13      11      64     

 

Career Highlights

  • Only player to make a hundred and take 3 + wickets in a CWC final
  • 3rd most runs at 1996 World Cup (448)
  • Scored 11 centuries and 64 ODI half-centuries
  • Won 31 Man-of-the-Match and 3 man-of-the-series awards

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.

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