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The Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney has put the third Test in the city in doubt

A switch of the Sydney and Brisbane Tests, to give New South Wales more time to deal with its current Covid-19 outbreak, is one of two possible scenarios Cricket Australia is being compelled to consider as state governments begin tightening their borders once more.

The cricket, broadcasting and media caravan got out of Adelaide in the nick of time on Saturday and Sunday, in some cases a matter of hours before the state’s premier Steven Marshall announced mandatory 14-day quarantine for recent visitors to greater Sydney.

Similar complications are at the heart of discussions about how to possibly reframe the remaining Tests between Australia and India, with the strong preference of CA, Cricket NSW and the SCG Trust to find a way of avoiding the outright loss of the Sydney Test.

“The third Test is more than two-and-a-half weeks away, which provides us with time to assess the evolving public health situation on the northern beaches of Sydney,” CA’s interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement. “We have made no changes to our schedule and our preference remains to play the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“Cricket Australia has developed a solid track record of delivery throughout this most challenging of summers and will continue to make appropriate and proportionate decisions in consultation with our biosecurity team, governments, State & Territory Associations, the Australian Cricketers’ Association, our partners and venues”

Switching the Gabba Test to the third game of the series, allowing free movement from Melbourne, to Brisbane and then finally to Sydney, would allow the SCG to still host a match, albeit with likely hard restrictions on crowd numbers and also flow on effects for the Big Bash League schedule.

The growing Covid-19 outbreak has forced fresh consideration of other contingency plans, such as playing both the Boxing Day and New Year’s Tests in Melbourne. Such a scenario would be as much about ensuring the touring caravan can travel freely onwards to Brisbane, the venue for the final Test, rather than being caught up in Sydney.

This plan is believed to be favoured by broadcasters for reducing the amount of travel undertaken by production staff and equipment, and consequently achieving a cost saving. However, the preferences of the BCCI and the Indian touring team will also need to be considered.

“CA has prepared for the possibility of Covid-19 hotspots and state border closures over the course of the summer and the protocols that we have put in place have been effective in ensuring the safety and success of the men’s and women’s domestic and international programs to date,” Hockley said.

“It was less than a month ago that South Australians were contending with an outbreak of the virus in Adelaide and we have just completed a brilliant first Test at the Adelaide Oval. We faced similar issues in relation to the Melbourne Cricket Ground playing host to the Boxing Day Test and we are now less than a week away from welcoming back Victorian crowds after a difficult year for the state.

“We will continue to work closely with all relevant parties to make the right decisions in the appropriate timeframes.”

Australia’s stunning three-day victory over India in Adelaide played out against the backdrop of the Sydney outbreak, with David Warner and Sean Abbott travelling early down to Melbourne to ensure they were not caught up in what are likely to be increasing restrictions on travel out of New South Wales.

“Of course been chatting about that, fingers crossed it doesn’t escalate too much,” Cummins said. “I think Davey got his own Lear jet down to Melbourne from all reports, so he’s sorted. But of course CA have been amazing with our medical staff there, they’ve thought of every contingency and red hot on our discipline with mask wearing and isolation before coming into the bubble. So fingers crossed Sydney can look after themselves but I think we’ll see Davey and Sean down in Melbourne.”

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED | FOX Sports

Colin Cowherd discusses why it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts to go big in this year’s draft to find their franchise quarterback after Philip Rivers’ decision to retire. Hear why Colin believes the Colts should potentially trade up for the Miami Dolphins #3 overall pick after their announcement to stick with Tua Tagovailoa.

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FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Flick: World title would be icing on Bayern’s cake

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  • Bayern Munich’s FIFA Club World Cup campaign begins on 8 February
  • German giants will meet Al Duhail or Al Ahly in the semi-finals
  • For coach Hansi Flick, winning in Qatar would cap a fantastic season

A win at the FIFA Club World Cup 2020™ would see Hans-Dieter Flick and Bayern Munich make history by becoming only the second team after Barcelona (in 2009) to win all six domestic and international titles up for grabs in one season. And yet despite the enormity of the occasion, the coach says that he does not feel under any particular pressure.

“It’s always the case at Bayern Munich that you want to have the most successful season possible,” said Flick, “and after the treble, you’re obviously looking at the FIFA Club World Cup. We’re quite simply motivated to win something else, so we’re all obviously really looking forward to the Club World Cup.”

The record German league winners will get their campaign under way on 8 February in the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar. The draw that was made on Tuesday 19 January in Zurich pitted them against whoever comes through the quarter-final between last season’s league champions in the host nation Al Duhail SC (Qatar) and the CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly SC (Egypt).

That would probably be the icing on the cake, but it’s obviously going to be a challenge. Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that it’s a wonderful competition, so we’re looking forward to the whole event and hoping that we can have a successful tournament.

Hansi Flick

Flick has four players in his ranks who know what it takes to win the FIFA Club World Cup, with captain and current The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, FIFA World Cup™ winners Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng, and Austria’s David Alaba all part of the successful 2013 campaign for the club. Back then, Pep Guardiola was in charge when Bayern won the final in Morocco 2-0 courtesy of goals from Thiago and Dante. According to Flick, everyone had a positive experience of that victorious tournament.

“All of them, including Hermann Gerland, who was already on the coaching staff back then, said that it quite simply a wonderful event and that it’s fun to take part in it, pure and simple. And if we can have the same success that they did in 2013, then that will make it a whole lot of fun and a unique event, which is exactly the kind of experience we’re looking to have this year with the team.”

A Club World Cup brings together not merely the best teams in a particular continent, but the cream of club football from all around the world – something that the Bayern coach was quick to underline.

“I know what it’s like from working with the national team. At European Championships, or for us in the Champions League, you always play European teams. Coming up against South American, Asian or African sides is always a little bit different in terms of the mentality of your opponents. On the one hand, as I’ve just said, it’s the mindset and the way the players are set up, but you also come across the occasional new concept as regards the way you imagine and eventually play the game.

“From that point of view, I’m really looking forward to seeing and analysing what the tournament has to offer and maybe picking up some fresh ideas. This is why it’s always really special when you get a global perspective on something and get to play against the best teams in the world.”







© Getty Images


As UEFA representatives, Bayern are automatically one of the tournament favourites. A look back at the roll of honour shows that clubs from the Old Continent have already enjoyed a great deal of success. The last time a non-European side came out on top was all the way back in 2012, when Corinthians from Brazil defeated Chelsea in Japan. Since then, Bayern (2013), Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) Barcelona (2015) and Liverpool (2019) have all taken home the title, and Bayern will be hoping to add to that list by winning the final, to be held on 11 February in Education City Stadium.

“We’re hoping and aiming to win the tournament, but as is always the case, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Flick. “First off, we want to – and we have to – win our semi-final. We’re obviously hopeful of making it to the final – it’s our goal but it’s also our duty to get that far. We’ll be doing everything we can to prepare in the best way possible to realise our ambitions. But first and foremost we have to do our jobs, and then we can see whether we’ve earned ourselves a reward.”

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Ban vs WI, 1st ODI – Six West Indies players debut as Bangladesh opt to bowl in overcast conditions | Cricket

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Shakib Al Hasan will be playing his first game since his ban ended © Raton Gomes/BCB


Bangladesh chose to field vs West Indies

Tamim Iqbal, standing as Bangladesh captain for the first time since his appointment nine months ago, chose to field against an inexperienced West Indies led by Jason Mohammed in the first ODI in Mirpur. Both teams are playing their first game of the World Cup Super League, the pathway tournament for the qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup.

There were debutants for both teams. Pacer Hasan Mahmud, who made his T20I debut last year, became the 134th Bangladesh ODI cricketer. For West Indies, six players – Akeal Hosein, Andre McCarthy, Chemar Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner – made their ODI debuts. The ODI also sees Shakib Al Hasan’s return after his ban for not reporting a corrupt approach elapsed.

At the toss, Iqbal said that the overcast conditions prompted him to bowl first. Mohammed didn’t mind batting first, saying the surface “looks like a good wicket”. He also said that the young players in the XI were looking forward to playing international cricket. As for his captaincy, Mohammed said he was “trying to stay as calm as possible”.

Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das, 3 Nazmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Soumya Sarkar, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Hasan Mahmud, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Rubel Hossain

West Indies XI 1 Sunil Ambris, 2 Joshua da Silva (wk), 3 Andre McCarthy, 4 Nkrumah Bonner, 5 Jason Mohammed (capt), 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Kyle Mayers, 8 Akeal Hosein, 9 Raymon Reifer, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Chemar Holder

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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