April 18 down the years

The IPL is born

McCullum flays 158 to get the world's premier T20 league going

It began in Bangalore: Brendon McCullum (left) got the IPL going in blazing fashion in 2008 © Getty Images

The inaugural season of the Indian Premier League kicked off in Bangalore with Bangalore Royal Challengers taking on Kolkata Knight Riders. New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, Kolkata's opener, clobbered 158 off 73 balls to start the tournament in style. The IPL was the creation of BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi, who later became persona non grata in the wake of allegations of financial misdeeds. The league involved a player auction where the world's top cricketers were bought for record prices - MS Dhoni for $1.5 million - and the total prize money on offer was around $3 million. While the IPL went on to be a hit with the cricket-watching masses in India, it has over the years been tailed by controversies, the biggest of which came to light in 2013, when players from Rajasthan Royals were accused of spot-fixing, and the son-in-law of N Srinivasan, the BCCI president at the time, was arrested on charges of involvement in illegal betting.

The day Brian Charles Lara made what was then the highest score in Test history. He started the third day of the fifth Test against England in Antigua unbeaten on 320, and an already delirious crowd reached fever pitch as he closed in on Garry Sobers' 365. Lara went level with Sobers when he creamed Andy Caddick through the covers for four, and in the next over he pulled Chris Lewis through square leg to break the record. A manic pitch invasion ensued, and Sobers made his way through the melee to offer his congratulations. Six runs later Lara edged Caddick to Jack Russell for 375, off 538 balls and 766 minutes, including 45 fours. It might have seemed like the pinnacle, but it was just the start: six weeks later, batting for Warwickshire against Durham, Lara made 501 not out, the highest score in first-class history. Then, a full decade later, and once again against England in Antigua, he posted 400 not out - Test cricket's first quadruple-century - to reclaim his crown, a mere six months after it had been usurped by Australia's Matthew Hayden.

The birth of Macko. Malcolm Marshall arguably had more weaponry than any quick bowler in the history of the game: late swing both ways; seam movement on all but the most lifeless surfaces; genuine pace from that famous, whippy action; a skiddy bouncer, made all the more unplayable because of his low trajectory; all backed up by the keenest and most cunning of cricketing minds. And though a thoroughly decent and popular man, Marshall had the necessary devil: on his first tour as a Test player, to India in 1978-79, Marshall felt cheated when Dilip Vengsarkar claimed a dodgy catch. He waited four years for revenge, and in ten Tests between 1982 and 1984 nailed Vengsarkar no fewer than nine times. Marshall was brave too, and nobody will forget his demolition of England at Headingley in 1984, when he batted one-handed and then took 7 for 53 with his fractured thumb in plaster. He was widely mourned when he succumbed to cancer in 1999, at the age of 41.

A Sharjah final, Pakistan against India, and Pakistan needed four to win off the final ball. Chetan Sharma was bowling to Javed Miandad, who smacked a mighty six to conclude a sensational innings of 116 not out off 114 balls, for which he was showered with umpteen gifts. It was Pakistan's first victory in a major tournament.

An innings win over New South Wales in Brisbane gave Queensland their ninth Sheffield Shield title. Strike bowlers Jack Wildermuth and Michael Neser took nine wickets, scuttling the visitors out for 143 on day one. Then Marnus Labuschagne went big with 192 runs over close to six hours, making light of a Test-quality NSW bowling attack (Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon) and putting Queensland well clear. After an early start on day four with NSW five down, staring down the barrel, legspinner Mitchell Swepson struck with three wickets in a row and it was all over bar the shouting.

A historic day in Barbados, as South Africa began their first Test for 22 years following their return to the international arena, and their first ever against a non-white team.

The day Chris Gayle became the first to break the 10,000-run mark in T20 cricket. He did it when he scored the third run of his 38-ball 77 against Gujarat Lions in Rajkot. Gayle's 10,000th came while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, the team he had scored most of his T20 runs for, and in the IPL, the league he had scored most of those runs in. At least he didn't have to do much running to get there: 7472 of his 10,000 came in sixes and fours.

One of England's most influential administrators is born. Essex's Doug Insole did play nine Tests, with his unusually bottom-handed technique bringing one century, in Durban in 1956-57, but it was upon retirement that he really made a name for himself. His CV includes being an England selector for 19 years (he was the man who dropped Geoff Boycott for slow - or, in Insole's words, "selfish" - batting), on the MCC committee for over 20, and managing two England tours of Australia, including one in 1978-79, when he managed to ward off the advances of Kerry Packer.

Phil Simmons, who was born today in Trinidad, never quite translated his clean-hitting potential to the top level for West Indies. In 1992-93, he made his one Test hundred - 110 at the MCG - and a couple of 80s against Australia and Pakistan. Simmons excelled at Leicestershire, whom he helped to the County Championship in 1996 and 1998. His earlier experiences of cricket in England were less happy: in 1988 he was struck by David Lawrence in a tour game and had to have emergency brain surgery to save his life. He went into coaching after retirement, first unsuccessfully with Zimbabwe, who sacked him in 2005, and then with Ireland, who, under his guidance, caught the attention of all in the 2011 World Cup where they beat England. He took over as West Indies coach after the 2015 World Cup. But it was a tumultuous stint in which he was suspended soon after his appointment for saying he hadn't been allowed to pick the squad he wanted. Then, six months after he led West Indies to a World T20 title, the board sacked him on the grounds of "differences in culture and strategic approach". In February 2017, Afghanistan snapped him up as a consultant.

Birth of Indian opener KL Rahul, who started his Test career with three overseas hundreds - in Sydney, Colombo and Kingston - in his first five matches. The last of those was the first of a 12-Test spell he played between July 2016 and March 2017, in which he scored 944 runs at 55.52. His first home century was a bittersweet one - he fell for 199 in Chennai against England. In the challenging four-Test series against Australia at home in February-March 2017, Rahul made six half-centuries in seven innings. The following year, he got to an IPL fifty in 14 deliveries, a tournament record.

Birth of CS Nayudu, the younger brother of India's first Test captain, CK. Like his sibling, CS was also an allrounder, and had a long and distinguished Ranji Trophy career between 1931-32 and 1961-62. In 1942-43 he became the first to take 40 wickets in a Ranji Trophy season, in just four games for Baroda, while in the 1944-45 final, playing now for his brother's Holkar team against Bombay, he delivered a record 917 balls in the match. His Test career was a contrast - only three of his 11 Tests were at home. His best score, 36, came in his debut innings, and he took only two Test wickets, at 179.50.

Other birthdays
1858 George McShane (Australia)
1867 Thomas Routledge (South Africa)
1901 Wilf Barber (England)
1927 Jim de Courcy (Australia)
1944 Irvine Shillingford (West Indies)
1974 Jignesh Desai (USA)