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David Warner believes that restrictive biosecurity bubbles of the kind Australia are expected to encounter while touring England in September may be a factor for players with families, who might choose to retire rather than face long stints away from their partners and children.

Speaking about the realities in the time of Covid-19 – ahead of the England tour, followed by the IPL in the UAE, and then the home summer – Warner said that time with his family of wife Candice and their three daughters would appear less likely in an environment where teams need to be quarantined in order to fulfil international fixtures. The demands of that scenario will figure highly in Warner’s thinking when he considers when to pare back or finish his days as an international cricketer, having flagged last summer that he was considering, at the age of 33, whether to retire from one or more international formats in order to prolong his overall playing time.

“Obviously three daughters and my wife, who I owe a lot to, has been a big part of my playing career,” he said. “You’ve always got to look out for your family first, and with cricket and these unprecedented times, you’ve got to weigh up these decisions. Look, at the moment, I’ll keep continuing to aim for that. Obviously the T20 [World Cup] is not here at home, which would have been ideal to play that and win that here. Now that gets pushed back. I will have to have a rethink about that when it comes to India.

“I’ll see where I am and where the girls are at with school as well. A lot of that is a big part of my decision. It’s not just when the games are being played and how much cricket’s being played. It’s a big family decision for myself. There are times when you go away and miss your family a lot and at the moment with all these biosecurity measures that are in place, we’re going to not be able to have the luxury of our families coming away with us now and it could be for the foreseeable future.

“We’re obviously unsure and unclear given states are in lockdown or not letting people from other states go interstate. We have to sit back and wait for the government and states to see what the regulations are behind that. All we can do really is train with our states and prepare as well as we can on the wickets provided to get ready for the season”

“As the prime minister [Scott Morrison] said, we might not be able to go overseas or visitors won’t be able to come into Australia. They are things that we need to play by ear and if and when I do make that decision, it’ll be predominantly a family decision.”

Victoria’s current outbreak has left the state in a precarious position relative to the rest of the country, leaving Warner to conclude that Australia may need to get their heads around not playing in Melbourne around the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays for the first time in living memory.

“Yeah, we have to look at it like that. I’m sitting here and you guys are too today looking at how many cases are happening in Victoria at the moment,” he said. “Even the guys trying to get out of Victoria, it’s very, very challenging as well. It’s going to be challenging for everyone. I think we spoke about state cricket. That’s the perfect example. How is Victoria going to be able to start (Sheffield) Shield cricket down there. At the moment, it seems like it’ll be impossible.

“But I think they’ll have to put things in place to play it somewhere else. Even if we do play down there, then coming out of Victoria you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days into other states. There are so many elements to it that it’s out of our control and hands at the moment. Whatever happens, if you put something in place now, it’s going to change tomorrow. It’s very, very difficult to process. We’ll have to see and adapt. And you might see the first Boxing Day Test not in Melbourne.”

Looking at the likelihood of travelling to England, then to the UAE for a relocated IPL, then home for scheduled Tests against Afghanistan and India, Warner agreed that a surfeit of white-ball matches would not be an ideal lead-in when lined up against the two or three Shield fixtures that Australia’s cricketers have become accustomed to playing before the start of a home international season.

“Usually you have a couple of Shield games leading into a Test series, especially at home,” he said. “So I think the unique thing about it is the Indian team and ourselves are going to be in the same boat really. We’re going to have a lack of red-ball cricket preparation and end of the day we have to make the most of that time training in the lead up to the Test series.

“We’ve played enough high-level cricket to adapt to red ball. But there are obviously guys back in Australia who won’t be playing in the one-day series or the IPL, who have to try and get ready to prepare. Hopefully there are a couple of games they can play interstate against each other, if something is put in place. We’re obviously unsure and unclear given states are in lockdown or not letting people from other states go interstate.

“We have to sit back and wait for the government and states to see what the regulations are behind that. All we can do really is train with our states and prepare as well as we can on the wickets provided to get ready for the season.”

In a way, the challenges will be a more concentrated version of the kind of dilemmas Australia’s cricketers and selectors have faced most years since the dawn of the Big Bash League, and even before that with the T20 Champions League, which forced players to juggle formats at a formative time of the season.

“I feel that – obviously there is going to be a squad of 15 picked for example, and if there’s no Shield cricket being played up until Christmas, it doesn’t give anyone else an opportunity to be picked,” Warner said. “Like if there’s an injury there is nobody coming up from red-ball cricket. So there are these situations that we’re going to have to play by ear and try to get guys to be prepared in case something happens.

“There’s three Tests leading into Christmas and coming off three or four Shield games played beforehand as well. So there’s going to be a lack of red-ball cricket obviously – it’s going to be challenging. If someone goes down, we’ll have to bring a person in with a lack of red-ball preparation. That’s foreign to all of us. It doesn’t really happen – and we’re just going to have to adapt to that.”

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Mike Tyson nearly knocks out trainer while preparing for exhibition fight against Roy Jones Jr.

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Mike Tyson is set to return to the ring on Nov. 28 when he takes on Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition fight. Iron Mike has been aggressively training for the fight and it looks like he’s in the best shape of his life. Just ask his trainer.

Tyson has been posting videos showcasing his training in the lead-up to the fight. On Wednesday, a clip showed Tyson sparring with trainer Rafael Cordeiro and, unfortunately for Cordeiro, Tyson accidentally caught him with a hook:

As you can see, Cordeiro stumbles back after Tyson connects on the huge right hand. Tyson, 54, certainly still appears to have the speed and power that made him one of the most dangerous boxers in the sport’s history.

While the upcoming bout against Jones Jr. is an exhibition fight, Tyson appears to be taking it very seriously and the boxing world is taking notice.

WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel Herring commented on the video, writing “Somebody send Mike a reminder that this is an exhibition.” In addition, Danny Williams, who knocked out Tyson prior to his retirement in 2005, believes that Tyson could “seriously hurt” Jones Jr. when the two face off in the ring in November.

Jones Jr. even recently admitted that he may have “made a mistake” by accepting the fight with Tyson.

“He’s still Mike Tyson, he’s still one of the strongest, most explosive people who ever touched a boxing ring,” Jones Jr. old Sky Sports. “If anything, I made a mistake going in with him. He’s the bigger guy, he’s the explosive guy.”



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IPL 2020 – Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming says it’s like every game is like an away game

Adaptability, picking the right personnel and reading pitches correctly in the absence of home ground advantage will be key to success at IPL 2020, according to the Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming.

“This season is going to be very different tactically,” Fleming told the Super Kings website. “With no real home ground advantage here, we’ve got to be very good at adapting to the conditions in each ground. We’ve got three different grounds (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi) to assess and each ground has its own character and nuances, and we’ve just got to be good enough to pick the right team and get the right game plan to match that. It’s like every game is an away game.”

Apart from not having been able to train in Abu Dhabi – the venue of their tournament opener against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday – a lot of the Super Kings’ first-choice players – including Shane Watson, MS Dhoni , Ambati Rayudu and Deepak Chahar- have been away from the game longer than some others. Add to it the challenges of playing in Abu Dhabi without having seen the wicket or assessed the conditions – something Mumbai have had the chance to do because they’re based there.

“It’s one of the challenges of having to travel to Abu Dhabi – we’ve got to have to be very good on the day to have to assess the wicket and pick the right combination,” Fleming said. “One of the big challenges for IPL teams is to get the combinations right.

“There are a lot of skillful players that make the side, but there are also a lot of skillful players that don’t. Picking the right side for the right conditions is one of the great challenges and we’ve got a good record at that. But I must admit, going to Abu Dhabi without seeing the wicket or assessing the conditions is going to be one of the big challenges to start with.”

That said, Fleming also believes the Super Kings will be able to cover up for the lack of match time by their combined wealth of experience. For the record, Mumbai have come up trumps in the last two meetings between the sides. “We’ve got experienced players, and experienced players identify key times and that’s why they’ve done so well in their careers – that they can turn games, absorb pressure or just sum out the situation. That’s what experience is about and that’s why we value it so highly.

“And that’s why we’ve been able to get over the line in so many close games because the key player has been one with a lot of experience. And you also mix that with skill. You are conscious of having a skillful side and adding youth when we can and with that get the balance pretty right.”

The lead-up to the Super Kings’ campaign has been chaotic. Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh opted out of the season for different reasons while two players – Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar – along with a number of support staff members tested positive. Among all teams, the Super Kings have trained the least in the UAE, having only been able to begin on September 6 after extended quarantine periods. But Fleming doesn’t think this will be a disadvantage.

“It has been different, and that’s been part of the challenge – understanding the unknown,” Fleming said of their build-up. “We didn’t get off to a great start, with some positive Covid-19 cases, but I think we dealt with it very well.

“We were calm around our approach, looked after the players and staff very well, and the rest of the players were calm in the hotel room. There was a bit of anxiety wanting to get out and train. It is what it is, and the players dealt with it very well. On hindsight, the amount of pre-season training that we’ve done up to now, and the extra few days in the room, was probably a blessing.”

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai captain, doesn’t believe the past will have any bearing on how his team will perform in this year’s IPL though they had lost each of their five games in the UAE in 2014, the last time the tournament was played in the country.

“We didn’t have a great experience last time yes, but it’s a different team now,” Rohit said at the pre-tournament press conference on Thursday. “The thought process is different. Six years is a lot of time. Like I said, it’s about understanding pitches and conditions, that is crucial so we are putting a lot of emphasis on that.

“Eventually the pitches will play a big part, so understanding and adapting quickly is important. But yes, the past won’t play any part – it was just myself, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah from that team. I think Bumrah played just one game. So the team is different, the staff is different [and] thought process is different. Looking forward to a great IPL.”

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Bryce Harper hits two home runs, but Phillies come up short vs. Mets, 10-6

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