England's Ben Stokes named as leading cricketer in the world by Wisden Wisden has named Ben Stokes as its leading cricketer in the world and urged the government to ensure that at the next global event in the UK all England matches are broadcast on free-to-air television – not only the final. The 157th Almanack lands on Thursday in what should have been a precursor to the opening deliveries of the County Championship this Easter Sunday. However the sport it charts sits in stasis and so this is solely a blast of primrose sunshine from 2019. Stokes is duly feted for the heroics witnessed during the World Cup final at Lord’s and the Headingley heist that joined the pantheon of Ashes centuries.
Record-size hole opens in ozone layer above the Arctic A rare hole has opened up in the ozone layer above the Arctic, in what scientists say is the result of unusually low temperatures in the atmosphere above the north pole. The hole, which has been tracked from space and the ground over the past few days, has reached record dimensions, but is not expected to pose any danger to humans unless it moves further south. If it extends further south over populated areas, such as southern Greenland, people would be at increased risk of sunburn. However, on current trends the hole is expected to disappear altogether in a few weeks. Low temperatures in the northern polar regions led to an unusual stable polar vortex, and the presence of ozone-destroying chemicals such as chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere – from human activities – caused the hole to form.
Ferrari agree F1 season can end in 2021 and support radical race changes The Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, has said his team would support serious changes to Formula One race weekends so the season can take place. After the Canadian Grand Prix was the ninth meeting to be called off on Tuesday, Binotto emphasised that F1 teams now needed to be flexible in adapting what has been a long-established format and stated that Ferrari would agree to extend the season into February 2021. With the race in Montreal postponed, the first meeting that can take place is the French Grand Prix on 28 June, which is also under threat from the coronavirus outbreak. A minimum of eight races are required to constitute a world championship and, with the weekends available rapidly decreasing, Binotto believes F1 may have to take radical action.
The Open 2020 cancelled but US golf majors set new dates The Open has emerged as the outlier in this year’s major scene after cancelling its 149th staging at Royal St George’s in Kent this July. No sooner had the R&A confirmed that unprecedented step in peacetime than golf’s other big three – the US PGA Championship, Masters and US Open – issued new dates for 2020 despite the coronavirus crisis. The Ryder Cup also remains in its designated position from 25 September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Royal St George’s, in Sandwich, will still have an Open slot but in July 2021. Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive, said: “I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing the Open this year but it is not going to be possible. “There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale.
Liverpool reverse decision to furlough staff after fierce criticism Liverpool have reversed their controversial decision to put around 200 non-playing staff on furlough after receiving fierce criticism for seeking government assistance during the coronavirus crisis. The world’s seventh-richest football club sparked outrage on Saturday when announcing they would follow Newcastle, Tottenham, Norwich and Bournemouth in using the coronavirus job retention scheme to cover 80% of wages due to staff whose work has stopped since the football calendar was suspended on 13 March. Liverpool had confirmed they would pay the remaining 20% to those on furlough, with almost 90 of those affected working in the club stores, and would consider reimbursing monies received at a later date. But the move, coming six weeks after Liverpool announced a pre-tax profit of £42m and increased turnover of £533m for 2018-19, attracted a barrage of criticism from former players and supporters. Liverpool stood to save up to £1.5m by putting staff on furlough.
Talking Horses: new day, new track but would it still be the Derby? When is a Derby not a Derby any more? It is a question that racing’s planners, executives and fans seem sure to be asking themselves over the next few weeks as the sport plots what seems sure to be a very slow return to some kind of normality when the lockdown starts to ease. What, if anything, can be done to save British Flat racing’s most famous Classic? There has been a Derby winner every year since Diomed’s success in the first running of the race in 1780. Break in the cricket season offers chance to consider future of the sport The most popular book in the makeshift library at the Tarsao prisoner of war camp was a bible, the second a copy of the 1939 Wisden Almanack. It belonged to Jim Swanton and so many people wanted to borrow it that he’d only lend it for six hours at a time. He had carried the book with him from Britain, through Nova Scotia and South Africa, to Singapore, where he was captured by the Japanese. Swanton repaired it over and again, bound it with rice paste and recovered it with rubber. He used it to invent pretend radio commentaries for the other internees and as the basis for a lecture on “The Life of Bradman”. Lost in Wisden, Swanton wrote, “our minds were strangely at peace”.
Coronavirus: US health official warns of dangerous second wave Image copyright Getty Images A second wave of coronavirus cases in the US could be even worse than the first, the country's top health official has warned. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield said the danger was higher as a fresh outbreak would likely coincide with the flu season. It would put "unimaginable strain" on the US health care system, he said. The US has seen more than 800,000 cases - the highest in the world. More than 45,000 people have so far died with coronavirus across the US, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Coronavirus: Supermarkets 'to face day of reckoning' on wages Image copyright Reuters Supermarket and shop workers deserve to be paid a minimum of £10 an hour after coronavirus, a union leader has argued. Paddy Lillis, of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), said retail "heroes" should be rewarded for risking their health to keep people "fed and watered". He predicted a post-crisis "day of reckoning" on pay and conditions. But the British Retail Consortium said now was "not the right time" to ask for a wage increase. It added that, across the retail sector, footfall - the number of people visiting shops - had suffered its "worst ever decline" in March.
Football's biggest matches should be played at neutral grounds, police say Consideration should be given to playing high-stakes matches at neutral venues if football returns this season to minimise the impact on the emergency services, the national football policing unit has said. Playing all the remaining Premier League, EFL and FA Cup matches in the 2019-20 season at their original venues would “present challenges” to the police, said DCC Mark Roberts as governing bodies continue to hold talk about a safe return amid the coronavirus pandemic. Roberts flagged up the possibility of matches where titles, promotion or relegation are on the line being relocated, or being prevented from going ahead if crowds were to gather outside the original venues. “We’ve done the work assessing the remaining fixtures – I think it’s 92 to finish the Premier League season and 341 in the Football League, seven to complete the FA Cup,” he said. “We all need to look at options about what games absolutely need to be played.
Donald Trump seems incapable of a good team talk. So I wrote one for him There’s a moment near the end of most sports movies when the coach gives a heartfelt pep talk right before the crucial game. The coach will use words like “heart,” “honor,” and “teamwork”. Everything that happens on the court or field after that is a bit of a letdown because victory – whether on the scoreboard or of the spirit – seems inevitable after the speech. To movie audiences, these moments may seem corny, but in real life, when someone you admire and respect speaks, their words can have a great impact.