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After a lot of negotiations and planning Australia’s limited-overs tour to England has been confirmed with three T20Is and three ODIs being played in September. Here’s how it will happen.

When does the squad fly out?

The 21-man squad, along with coaches and support staff will come from around Australia and link up in Perth for a direct chartered flight to London on August 23 which avoids the need for any international stopovers on route which may have complicated the journey. They will arrive in London the following day and immediately transfer to the County Ground at Derby which will be their first biosecure base for the tour. The ground has been used by Pakistan and the England Women’s team this season.

How have the players been getting ready?

The Australia selectors named a 26-man squad last month so that those in the frame could start to prepare. However, things have differed state-to-state because of the various levels of Covid-19 restrictions in place around Australia. Melbourne is currently in a Stage 4 lockdown after a spike in number of cases, which has made things more challenging for Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell. The New South Wales-based Australia players have trained away from their state team-mates and been told to avoid public places – such as cafes and restaurants – in recent weeks to minimise the risks. In other states it’s been more like normal pre-season. South Australia had nets in Adelaide on Friday and Marnus Labuschagne, the only Queensland player in the squad, made 92 when the state players trialled the Hundred format recently.

Can Australia train straightaway?

Yes, once they shake off the jetlag, they’ll be straight into preparing for the internationals. Because they are moving into a biosecure environment, plus the fact there is an approved air bridge between Australia and the UK, it means they won’t be confined to their rooms for a quarantine period on arrival. The reason they won’t go straight to the Ageas Bowl, which hosts the T20Is, is that England’s Test series against Pakistan isn’t due to finish until August 25. That tour then returns to Old Trafford, the other major biosecure venue, for the T20Is so Australia need a base for a few days before heading to the Ageas Bowl on August 27.

ALSO READ: Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Cummins set to miss start of IPL 2020

How will Australia prepare?

Like West Indies and Pakistan, it will be with intra-squad matches (only Ireland, who played England Lions, have faced genuine opposition). Australia are due to play three T20 and one 50-over warm-up before facing England. They are taking 21 players with them which isn’t quite enough for a proper 11-a-side match, so there will need to be some creativity in the games themselves, but if the intra-squad match before last year’s Ashes is any indication, they could still be lively with established players up against those looking to make an impression.

So what about the internationals?

They will come in two batches, beginning with the T20Is on September 4, 6 and 8 before the squads relocate to Manchester for the ODIs, which are part of the World Cup Super League, at Old Trafford on September 11, 13 and 16. That journey between the venues will be under strict biosecure protocols as well, which is where Jofra Archer found himself in trouble earlier in the season after a detour home. The fact the two grounds have hotels onsite has been a key factor in the ECB managing to pull together this season.

Remind me, when did Australia last played?

The men were last in action on March 13 when the world was already changing. They played a behind-closed-doors ODI against New Zealand at the SCG – so were the first team to experience what has become the norm, for now at least – before that series was called off the next day when New Zealand had to return home due to borders being closed. Although they reached the World Cup semi-finals a little over a year ago, Australia’s ODI form has been very patchy with just two wins in seven matches since then. However, they have had much more success in T20Is and were shaping as one of the favourites for the now-postponed T20 World Cup. Going back to February 2019, they have won nine of their last 11 T20Is.

What happens after the tour?

This is where things get a bit complicated again and there are still some aspects to be confirmed. The players who take up their IPL deals will be dropped off in the UAE (Australia and England players will share the same flight) from which point on they come under the umbrella of the IPL’s protocols. The remaining Australia players and staff will continue back to Perth where, under Australia government regulations, they will have to quarantine for 14 days. CA hopes they will be able to negotiate that players will be able to train during that period but that’s an ongoing negotiation with the Western Australia government. It would be especially problematic for the pacemen if they weren’t able to keep their bowling loads up. After that period, they will be able to rejoin their states but it is likely they will miss some early-season games if the summer gets up and running on schedule.

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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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