In Brief

Sport shorts: cricket stars Ben Stokes and Ellyse Perry are honoured by Wisden and Cristiano Ronaldo is linked with Real return

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 8 April

1. Wisden honours Stokes and Perry 

England’s Ben Stokes and Australia’s Ellyse Perry have been named the world’s leading male and female cricketers respectively by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2020.

All-rounder Stokes starred as England won the Cricket World Cup on home soil last summer and the 28-year-old was also in superb form in the Ashes series against Australia. 

Stokes is the first Englishman to be named the world’s leading cricketer since Andrew Flintoff in 2005 and he also ends India captain Virat Kohli’s three-year run at the top.

Wisden editor Lawrence Booth said: “Ben Stokes pulled off the performance of a lifetime - twice in the space of a few weeks. First, with a mixture of outrageous talent and good fortune, he rescued England’s run-chase in the World Cup final, before helping to hit 15 off the super over.

“Then, in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, he produced one of the great innings, smashing an unbeaten 135 to pinch a one-wicket win. Against red ball or white, he was a force of nature.”

Fellow all-rounder Perry also made history as part of the Australia women’s cricket team. She has been named by Wisden as the leading woman cricketer in the world in 2019 and also one of the five cricketers of the year - the first female player to achieve the double.

Perry helped Australia win the women’s Ashes against England and the Women’s T20 World Cup.

2. Prem facing £1bn loss in revenue

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has warned the English top-flight could lose as much as £1bn in revenue because of the indefinite postponement of the season.

Masters said: “We face a £1bn loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019-20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future. 

“This would negatively impact not only the finances of the 20 Premier League clubs, but would also have a significant detrimental effect across the whole professional football landscape.”

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3. Greaves admitted to hospital 

Tottenham Hotspur and England legend Jimmy Greaves was last night taken to hospital due to an unspecified illness.

The 80-year-old, who suffered a severe stroke in 2015, is Spurs’s record goalscorer and also played for Chelsea, West Ham and AC Milan. 

Spurs said in a statement: “We can confirm that our record goalscorer Jimmy Greaves is currently being treated in hospital. We are in touch with his family and will provide further updates in due course. Everybody at the club sends their best wishes to Jimmy and his family.”

4. No answer from Wilder about stepping aside 

Sky Sports reports that Tyson Fury’s camp have not heard if Deontay Wilder will step aside to allow the WBC champion the chance to face IBF, WBA and WBO belt holder Anthony Joshua. 

Top Rank’s Todd DuBoef said: “I have not personally had any conversations about that. It is not on my radar. I am working with Wilder’s representatives on coming up with new potential dates in late-summer or early-fall for the Fury fight. We are speaking about potential venues too.

“That fight breaking up as a result of [Joshua vs Fury] fight? I have not been privy to any conversations about that. I have not heard that they are willing to step aside. Nobody has communicated that.”

5. Rugby prop Du Plessis registers for NHS

Glasgow Warriors player-coach Petrus du Plessis has registered with the NHS as a respiratory physiotherapist.

Following the suspension of the Pro14 rugby union season because of Covid-19, the 38-year-old prop said: “I strongly believe it’s important to have all hands on deck to overcome this virus.”

Juventus signed Portugal star striker Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid in 2018

Michael Steele/Getty Images

6. Real return for CR7?

Football may be shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t stop the transfer rumours.

Cristiano Ronaldo was recently being linked with a return to Manchester United and now it’s mooted that the Juventus star could move back to Real Madrid. 

The Daily Mail, citing a report in Corriere dello Sport, says Italian champions Juve are “strapped for cash” and would accept £50m for the Portuguese superstar.

Ronaldo, 35, spent nine seasons with Real before joining Juventus in 2018. In Spain he won La Liga twice, the Champions League four times and scored a club-record 450 goals.

7. Royal Ascot may go ahead with no fans

Horse racing is the latest sport to see its prestige events cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic with the Jockey Club announcing that the first four Classic races of the year - the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the Oaks - have been postponed indefinitely. 

According to The Guardian Royal Ascot will go ahead in June but behind closed doors, although, in the words of Ascot Racecourse’s chief executive Guy Henderson, the final decision is “dependent on government and public health policy and the approval of the BHA [British Horseracing Authority]”.  

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8. ‘No way’ Liverpool will not win title 

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin says Liverpool will not be denied the chance of being crowned Premier League champions.

Ceferin said: “I see no way for Liverpool to stay untitled. If the championship resumes, they will almost certainly win it - theoretically, it has not yet reached the guaranteed level, but it is practically close. 

“However, if it could not be played, it would also be necessary to announce the results in some way and find some key on how the champions should be determined. And, of course, again I do not see a scenario in which that would not be Liverpool. 

“I understand that fans will be disappointed if it happens in an empty stadium or even at the green table, but I believe they will win the title one way or another.” 

9. Canadian GP is postponed 

Formula 1’s shutdown has been extended by two weeks and the Canadian Grand Prix has become the ninth race to be called off because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Monday F1’s rulemakers approved a motion to extend the shutdown period from 21 days to 35 days. Then yesterday it was confirmed that the Canadian GP, which was originally scheduled for 12-14 June, had been postponed. 

F1 are now working with race promoters on a revised calendar for the 2020 season and it is planned for the Montreal event to feature later in the year. 

10. Back pages: Spurs flout lockdown rules 

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is on the back page of The Times after he received a warning from the club for “flouting the government’s lockdown guidelines”.

The paper describes how the Special One was observed standing with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and two others on some parkland in Barnet, north London. 

The Sun claims that Mourinho could face a police warning from the police for flouting the lockdown rules, and adds that the photos of the illicit training session were “posted on an Arsenal fan account”.

Today’s back pages

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is warned over outdoor training session

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