Happy Birthday - March 1 - Shahid Afridi, Carlos Queiroz, Mikkel Kessler

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[L-R] Kessler, Afridi, Queiroz.

‘Boom Boom Afridi’, who turns 36 today, has come to symbolise the current revolution in cricket.

The Pakistan all-rounder has cast aside the shackles of the Test game and made his name as one of the great entertainers in the shorter, Twenty20 format.

The aggressive right-handed batsman is regarded as one of the greatest big-hitting cricketers of all time, where he has the longest six of any form of the sport. His overall skill is also shown by holding the record for the most wickets in T20.

Afridi made his international debut as a 16-yearold, being drafted into the Pakistan side because of his leg-spinning ability. His explosive form with the bat soon exposed him to a wider audience.

He has since been at the vanguard for the shorter form, currently captaining the Pakistan T20 side as well as playing for franchises across the globe.

1953: Carlos Queiroz, Portuguese former Real Madrid coach who is currently in charge of Iran (63).

1956: Mark Todd, New Zealand horseman who won gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics in individual eventing (60).

1979: Mikkel Kessler, retired Danish boxer who is a fourtime super middleweight world champion (37).

1996: Ye Shiwen, Chinese swimmer who won gold in the 400m and 200m individual medley at London 2012 (20).

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On this day in 1958: Sir Garfield Sobers smashes his way into record books

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Sobers is recognised as one of cricket's greatest-ever all-rounders.

Few men have exhibited more acumen with both a cricket bat and ball than Sir Garfield Sobers. His tremendous talent was on show on this day in 1958, turning his maiden Test century into a stunning 365 not out at Sabina Park to beat the record by one run for the then highest Test score.

Sobers’ mark stood until 1994, when fellow West Indies star Brian Lara moved it on by 10 runs before improving it further by scoring 400 in 2004.

Sobers batted for 10 hours and 14 minutes against Pakistan, enjoying a 446-run second-wicket stand with Conrad Hunte – who also got 260. The Windies went on to reach a colossal 790-3, unsurprisingly going to win the match by an innings.

Here’s what else happened on this day:

1955: Pakistan and India finish off first five-match cricket Test series to be drawn 0-0 with a rain-affected
stalemate in Karachi.

1958: Boxing icon Joe Louis announces his retirement, bowing out as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world.

1969: Baseball legend Mickey Mantle announces his retirement, after a career at New York Yankees which
included seven World Series wins.

1996: Atlanta’s Lenny Wilkens became the first NBA coach to reach 1,000 career victories.

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Happy Birthday – February 29 – Henri Richard, Dave Brailsford, Sean Abbott

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(L-R) Richard, Brailsford, Abbott.

At just 5ft, 7 inches, Henri Richard was not one of the tallest ice hockey players in NHL but he certainly had the talent to cause the opposition problems.

Nicknamed the ‘The Pocket-Rocket’, the Canadian, who turns 80 today, had an illustrious career and is considered one of Montreal Canadiens’ legends.

His 11 Stanley Cup triumphs is more than any other player in NHL history, scoring more than 1,000 points  in his 20-year stint.

After being  a pivotal figure, Richard was appointed Canadiens’ skipper in 1971 until he called it quits in 1975.

Having played nine All-Star games and given his significant contribution, his squad number 16, was retired by Canadiens before being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

In 1998, he was ranked 29th of the Hockey News List’s top 100 greatest players.

1964: Dave Brailsford, a British cycling coach and general manager of Team Sky (52).

1976: Terrence Long, former outfielder, who used to play for Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees (40).

1988: Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke 04 captain and defender, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany (28).

1992: Sean Abbott, Australian all-rounder, who will play for Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s IPL (24).

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