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.

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."

Tall and lithe in his build, Anil Kumble was not the quintessential, everyday spinner.

He produced no lateral magic from the surface as Shane Warne did, nor did he create ripples around the batsmen like the wily old fox, Muttiah Muralitharan. Yet he ended up with 339 ODI wickets, with the only spinners ahead of him being Muralitharan and Afridi.

In the process, he gained enormous goodwill amongst fans and his fellow teammates for being fiercely aggressive and competitive on the field, and unerringly composed and humble off it.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Anil Kumble

Born: 17 October 1970 (age 49), Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling style: Legbreak googly

Playing role: Bowler

 

ODI Career: India (1990-2007)

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

271       265       14496  10412  337       6/12       6/12     30.89   4.30      43.0      8     2     0

 

Career Highlights

  • Most successful bowler at the 1996 World Cup (15 wickets)
  • He picked up 337 wickets at an average of 30.89
  • He’s picked up 5 wickets in an innings, twice

There was not much dissension when a panel of experts selected India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be the man they put forward as the Ultimate ODI XI wicketkeeper.

Dhoni got the better of players like Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, the Ultimate XI Test wicketkeeper, and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.

The clincher, for both the panel and the Zone, is Dhoni’s ability, not with the gloves, but to figure out what course of action to take in a run chase and largely come out on the winning side.

It was revealed on the SportsMax Zone yesterday that Dhoni has had successful run chases with him at the crease for India 96% of the time. Chances are if Dhoni is at the crease, India will win.

That was more important to the panel than the tremendous glovework of South Africa’s Mark Boucher, or the pinch-hitting ability of Adam Gilchrist. Those two are considered the greatest wicketkeepers of all time. However, the panel believes Dhoni is the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman the ODI game has ever seen.

More important than the panel and the Zone, are the Fanalysts, so says the weighting around the votes.

Fanalysts have 40% of the vote for who gets into SportsMax’s Ultimate XI, with the panel and the Zone, enjoying 30% each.

With that 40% of the votes, the Fanalysts have chosen to agree with the Zone and the panel for the most part. Yesterday was no exception.

In fact, Dhoni’s 46.29% to Kumar Sangakkara’s 17.14% of the votes represents the biggest margin of victory since the Ultimate XI began two months ago.

With that pick, the Fanalysts team so far includes Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar as openers, Virat Kohli, Brian Lara, and AB de Villiers as the middle order, and Dhoni as the wicketkeeper.

The Zone and panel, however, have gone with Viv Richards in the place of Lara.

This evening, the panel and Zone will be voting on the Ultimate ODI team’s allrounder, with Fanalysts already seeming to decide on Jacques Kallis.

Rohan Kanhai enjoyed a career in which he played on great teams from start to finish.

Maybe it is a testament to his ability that he was a mainstay for the West Indies during this period since the cluster of nations had been seeing a swell in the number of talented batsmen it had been producing.

Names like Sir Garfield Sobers, Joe Solomon, Clyde Hunte and Basil Butcher were just some of the talents in the West Indies line-up when Kanhai started his sojourn in Test cricket, and when that sojourn ended 17 years later, the Guyanese batsman had been joined by the likes of Roy Fredericks, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharan, Clive Lloyd and of course, Sobers was still around.

Despite spending 17 years at the top, Kanhai’s start to Test cricket was not as convincing as his career would eventually turn out to be.

on New year’s Eve in 1958, more than a year after his debut for the West Indies, Kanhai had yet to make his mark, had yet to prove why the selectors had kept persevering with him.

In truth, he hadn’t done badly, scoring three half-centuries in his first 23 innings. But he had never notched three figures, getting as close as 96 in February of 1958.

In Kolkata, that was to change.

The West Indies had dominated India in the first two Tests of a five-match series but Kanhai had yet to build on some good starts, scoring 66 and 22, nought and 41 in his first four times facing the Indians.

To date, Kanhai had only faced England and Pakistan, with India providing a new challenge to his fledgeling career.

On New Year’s Eve, West Indies had chosen to bat but were in early trouble when Kanhai walked to crease. Medium-pacer Raman Surendranath had, the ball before, removed JK Holt caught for just five.

India threatened for an instant, as Sir Conrade Hunte was back in the pavilion for just 23, leaving the West Indies at 72-2.

Six hours and 42 boundaries later, Kanhai was still there.

Collie Smith had tried to entertain a partnership but he went for 34 to leave the West Indies 180-3. Not a terrible return, but India were very much still in the game.

Kanhai eventually found a willing partner in Guyana teammate Butcher, who scored 103.

Day one would end with the West Indies in a strong position at 359 for 3.

Butcher was not out on 87 and Kanhai had his first Test century, a double. He was on 203 not out.

The following day, Kanhai would continue to keep the Indian bowlers at bay, going on to score his highest Test score of 256 before Surendranath had him caught by Polly Umrigar.

The damage had already been done and an unbeaten century of 106 from Sobers along with Solomon’s fine lower-order stand of 69 not out left the Indians staring down the barrel of 614. All this and Jamaica’s Gerry Alexander, a wicketkeeper who could bat as well, had not even faced a delivery.

That 256, coming in Kanhai’s 13th Test, was a watershed moment. Afterwards, he would get over the three-figures hump 14 more times in his career and score 28 half-centuries to boot to end with a very healthy average of 47.53.

Like sort of a warning, Kanhai would score 99 in the very next Test, before scoring another double century against Pakistan a few months later.

West Indies sealed the series in that game, winning by an innings and 336 runs and went on to register a 4-0 win following a drawn fifth Test.

While Kanhai and co. batted the Indians out of the game, it must be said the hosts had a major problem with handling the pace of Roy Gilchrist, whose match figures of 3-18 and 6-55, ensured the game would end inside four days.

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." 

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.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is credited with having the fastest hands behind the stumps and that suits him perfectly since he plays the game ahead of what is happening.

His overall game awareness and the ability to stay, always, one step ahead of the batsman puts him among the very best to occupy the position.

He is hardly your typical wicketkeeper and there is often a good amount of craft in his game. Under pressure when India needs a wicket, he has been known to produce moments of magic out of nowhere to send the batsman back to the pavilion. His stats for someone who does not count as a textbook wicketkeeper are staggering.

Dhoni, in 350 matches, has snaffled 321 catches along with a record 123 stumpings.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Born: July 7, 1981, Ranchi, Bihar (now Jharkhand)

Major teams: India, Air India Blue, Asia XI, Bihar, Bradman XI, Chennai Super Kings, East Zone, East Zone Under-19s, Help for Heroes XI, India A, Indian Board President's XI, International XI, Jharkhand, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI, Rest of India, Rising Pune Supergiants, Sehwag XI

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: (2004-present)

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

350     297     84     10773     183*   50.57   12303      87.56     10     73     826    229    321    123

 

Career Highlights

  • Highest batting average among wicket-keepers (50.96)
  • In 2017, became the first Indian to hit 200 sixes in ODIs
  • ICC ODI Player of the Year (2008 & 2009)
  • Highest score by a wicket-keeper, 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005
  • 1st player to pass 10,000 runs in ODIs with an average of over 50
  • Most not outs in ODIs (82)
  • Most stumpings by any wicket-keeper in an ODIs (120)

Former Windies bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop has heaped high praise on the current India pace attack, drawing comparisons to the relentless West Indies bowling units of the 1970s and 80s.

With a line-up that included the likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft, the West Indies team of that era became a nightmare for opposing batsmen.  The four-pronged bowling attack was relentless but also possessed some skill to go along with sustained aggression.

Despite initially being known for producing top-class spinners, India has in recent years produced a fearsome pace bowling attack of their own.  The likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, have proved capable of rattling even the best batting line-ups around the globe.

Bumrah has arguably been the pick of the pack and has developed a reputation for terrorizing opposing batsmen with pace and movement, despite a relatively short run-up.  Ironically, it was the West Indies that were rocked back by the bowler last year when he put on an outstanding display during a series between the teams, particularly during a Test match at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.  Bumrah returned outstanding figures of 6-16 from 9.1 overs - including just the third Test hat-trick by an India bowler.

“When you have three fast bowlers, sometimes four and an excellent spinner, it takes my mind back to the West Indies pace quartet before my generation, the Marshalls, the Holdings, the Garners, the Roberts – I’ll stick Colin Croft in there,” Bishop told Cricbuzz in Conversation.

“There is no release point, two come out, two come on.  There is no flow of runs and there is always a threat of penetration and physical harm to a lesser extent.  That is one of the things that makes this group of fast bowlers excellent.”

Voted India's Cricketer of the Century in 2002, ahead of Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev is arguably India’s best bowling all-rounder.

Leading India to the 1983 World Cup and wresting the world-record aggregate of Test wickets from Richard Hadlee were his two greatest accomplishments.

Few, who saw it, will forget his incredible knock of 175 against Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup as he single-handedly dragged India from a precarious 17 for 5 to a hard-fought 31-run win.

Kapil Dev was also the first bowler to take 200 ODI wickets eventually ending his career with 253 wickets at a decent average of 27.45.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Kapildev Ramlal Nikhanj

Born: January 6, 1959, Chandigarh

Major teams: India, Haryana, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

 

ODI Career (Batting): India (1978-1994)

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

225          198        39        3783      175*      23.79     3979      95.07           1           14                         

 

ODI Career (Bowling): India (1978-1994)

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

225          221        11202     6945       253       5/43      5/43      27.45     3.71       44.2     3        1         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Captained India’s 1983 World Cup-winning team
  • 1st player to take 200 ODI wickets
  • Peak ICC rating of 631 is the highest ever by an all-rounder in ODIs

The Ultimate Test XI is done and the fans have made their votes count, overruling a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone to pick two spinners in their line-up.

From jump street, the fans looked as if they would not be swayed by the opinions of the Zone and the panel, who had to get their ducks in a row if they wanted the final say on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI.

Whereas all were agreed that India’s Sunil Gavaskar was probably the greatest opener the world has ever seen as was a shoo-in for the first opening spot on offer, the fans disagreed with the panel and the Zone on the other opener. Hands down, Fanalysts believed Gordon Greenidge, despite boasting a lower average than most in the Ultimate XI Test shortlist, was the man for the job.

The Fanalysts were outvoted as the Zone, who had 30% of all votes and the panel, who had another 30, believed Australia’s Matthew Hayden the man to walk to the crease in partnership with Gavaskar.

Then there were other differences of opinion. According to the panel, the greatest middle-order batsmen of all time, read Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sir Vivian Richards.

The Zone team, despite being made up of solely Caribbean journalists, disagreed. Sir Viv, they said could not fill the third spot in that middle order ahead of an Australian, Sir Donald Bradman.

The Fanalysts agreed and put the weight of their 40% of the vote squarely behind the Australian great.

So now the fans missed out on one of their picks for opener and the panel missed out on one of their picks for a middle-order batsman.

At the allrounder position and the wicketkeeper position, there was unison as Fanalysts, Zone and panel believed Sir Garfield Sobers should fill the former position, while Australia’s Adam Gilchrist is the best the world has ever seen don gloves.

It is in the bowling category that the most controversy was expected and that’s where the most variance occurred.

According to the Zone, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram and Muttiah Muralitharan would provide the greatest bowling attack the world has ever seen.

The panel disagreed.

The panel, believed Marshall a shoo-in, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee could not be left out, and South Africa’s Dale Steyn was the final pacer to make up a bowling attack that had one spinner in Muttiah Muralitharan.

Hadlee never stood a chance for the Fanalysts, and neither did Steyn for that matter.

For the Fanalysts, a choice between Muralitharan and Warne, the two bowlers with the most wickets in the history of Test cricket, was too difficult to make and they picked both.

That left space for just two pacers and the all-West-Indian pairing of Marshall and Ambrose was the obvious choice.

With 30 per cent of the vote going to Hadlee, and another 30 per cent going to Steyn, Warne easily made his way into the Ultimate XI with the Fanalysts offering him up with their 40.

Based on all the Ultimate XI profiles have told you about these players, tell us who was right.

Were the fans who got their way with Bradman and the two spinners right? Or is there something to be said for the experts who went with Hadlee and Steyn, or even the Zone, who decided on Akram?

Were the Fanalysts accurate in going against the grain with picking Greenidge ahead of Hayden, or were the Zone and the panel correct in overruling them?  

Crazy or not, we are trusting the Fanalysts again with our Ultimate XI ODI team. 

Check out the shortlist below, tell me who you would pick in the comments section on Facebook and Twitter then go and vote after we tell you how wrong you are. Voting begins later today after the SportsMax Zone on SportsMax.tv.

 

With technique and temperament to succeed in every condition and format, Virat Kohli cutting loose is one of the exalted sights of the modern game — be it for India, Delhi or Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is already at the rarefied top of the ODI and T20 formats.  His style is based on the sound fundamentals of batting, topped with the finishing flair of god-gifted genius.     

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Virat Kohli

Born: November 5, 1988, Delhi

Major teams: India, Delhi, India A, India Blue, India Emerging Players, India Red, India Under-19s, Indian Board President's XI, North Zone, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, Rest of India, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Surrey

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

 

ODI Career: India (2008–present)

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

248      239    39    11867    183   59.33    12726   93.25       43     58       1116    121   

 

Career Highlights

  • ICC ODI Player of the Year (2012, 2017, 2018)
  • Highest average (min 5,000 runs) in the history of ODI cricket
  • 2nd most ODI centuries (43)
  • Fastest to 8,000; 9,000; 10,000; and 11,000 runs in ODIs
  • Has scored 5,388 runs in successful run chases at an average of 96.21
  • His 22 hundreds are the most in successful run chases
  • Has scored more than 1,000 runs in ODIs in a calendar year on 7 occasions
  • Reached the 1,000 ODI run mark in a year in record time – 11 innings

Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for the highest tally of runs in Test as well as ODI cricket.

He was the first batsman to score a double century in the white ball game. 

He was a nightmare for captains setting the field, as his range and repertoire of strokes had multiple answers to questions posed by bowlers. If there was one stroke from his wide cornucopia which left onlookers spellbound it was his back drive - often just a defensive half-push - that blazed to the straightest part of the ground.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

Born: 24 April 1973 (age 47)

Place of birth: Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India

Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)

Batting style: Right-handed

Playing role: Top-order batsman

 

ODI Career: India (1989–2012)

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

463     452     41       18426      200*  44.83  21368   86.23    49       96     2016  195    

 

Career Highlights

  • Leading run-scorer in One-Day Internationals, with 18,426 runs.
  • Holds the record of the highest number of centuries in ODIs (49)
  • Holds the world record for playing the highest number of ODI matches (463).
  • Has scored over 1000 runs in a calendar year in ODIs 7 times
  • In 1998 he scored 1,894 runs, the record for the highest number of runs scored by any player in a single calendar year for ODIs.
  • He is the first male cricketer to score a double-century in one-day cricket.
  • 1997 Wisden Cricketer of the Year
  • 1998, 2010 Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World.
  • 2003 – Player of the tournament in 2003 Cricket World Cup.
  • 2004, 2007, 2010 – ICC World ODI XI.
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