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IPL this time wasn’t ideal timing for anyone, impacted injuries we’re seeing: Langer

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He loves the IPL but Australia coach Justin Langer on Wednesday questioned the timing of the last year’s edition, which he believes could have been a contributing factor in the injury setbacks that both his and the Indian team have endured in the ongoing series. The IPL was held in the September-November window in 2020 in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lucrative tournament is usually held in India during the April-May window.

India have had a spate of injuries since the IPL and also in the current Australia series. Australia too had its share of injuries. “It is really interesting how many injuries (it) has been throughout this summer. I can’t help and think that the IPL this year (2020) was in really, probably wasn’t ideal timing for anyone, certainly for such a big series like this,” Langer said at a virtual press conference.

The latest addition to the Indian injury list is Ravindra Jadeja, who was hit on his thumb, and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who has been ruled out of the last Test following an abdominal strain.

Earlier, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav were ruled out of the series due to the various injuries they suffered. For Australia, David Warner was a big blow but he recovered in time for the last two Tests. Langer was all praise for the IPL saying it helps in development of young players but was critical of the previous edition’s timing.

“I love the IPL, I look at IPL now like I used to look at county cricket for our young players. They go and play county cricket and it helps them (in) their cricket development enormously, I think it is the same with the IPL, helps their white-ball development.

“But the timing of it…because of what happened with COVID…probably wasn’t ideal, and I just wonder whether that is having an impact on the injuries that we are seeing for both teams throughout the summer, so I’m sure they’ll review that,” said the Australian head coach.

Asked how much the absence of the Bumrah-Jadeja duo will impact the contest, he said, “Hopefully, it (absence of Bumrah and Jadeja) impacts it (the contest) a lot. But I have said this is going to be the survival of the fittest this summer.”

“And I have said when I was asked at the start of the summer about Virat (Kohli) not being here…if you are taking your best players out of any team, whether it is our team or our opponent, it is going to have an impact or it is potentially going to have an impact,” he said. But Langer would rather focus on his team’s resources than worry about how India would put together their playing XI in the fourth Test starting January 15 here.

“Test cricket, like I keep saying survival of the fittest, and we can’t concentrate on what India are doing, we just concentrate on (what) we are doing to make sure that we are up for the contest,” he signed off. The four-Test match series is currently tied at 1-1. The fourth Test, will be aired on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 from 5am onwards.



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Premier League: Mason Mount winner buys Frank Lampard time at Chelsea | Football News

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LONDON: Chelsea eased the pressure on Frank Lampard as Mason Mount‘s strike 13 minutes from time broke the resistance of 10-man Fulham to earn a 1-0 win in the West London derby on Saturday.
The Blues were languishing down in 10th at kick-off after a run of one win in six league games left Lampard fighting for his job.
But the former England midfielder was handed a gift by Antonee Robinson’s reckless challenge just before half-time that earned the American a straight red card.
Chelsea still struggled to make the extra man advantage count, but Mount’s precise low finish moved the visitors up to seventh and within three points of the top four.
A first defeat in six games rounded off a disappointing day for Fulham after victories earlier on Saturday for relegation rivals Brighton and West Brom.
Scott Parker’s men remain third from bottom and are now four points from safety.
Lampard responded to Chelsea’s poor run by leaving big-money signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz on the bench.
Olivier Giroud was selected ahead of Werner up front and forced French international teammate Alphonse Areola into a smart save as the visitors started brightly.
Mount has maintained Lampard’s faith despite a club record fee being splashed out to bring in Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen and the English international was inches away from rewarding his manager with a thunderous shot that came back off the crossbar.
Fulham were posing a threat themselves on the break and should have gone in front after a brilliant team move.
Robinson’s low cross was turned back across goal by Kenny Tete, but Ivan Cavaleiro’s mishit shot spooned wide.
Moments later, Fulham had a mountain to climb when Robinson dived in on Cesar Azpilicueta and was shown a straight red card.
The hosts were forced to sit deep and doggedly defend wave after wave of Chelsea attack after the break.
Lampard’s men looked most dangerous from set-pieces, though, as Thiago Silva headed wide a golden chance from a corner.
In search of a goal, Lampard first turned to Tammy Abraham from the bench and he headed a huge chance straight at Areola with his first touch.
Christian Pulisic then failed to connect with Hakim Ziyech’s inviting cross seconds later.
A moment of madness from Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy nearly gifted the Cottagers a shock lead at the other end.
Mendy diverted Azpilicueta’s backpass as he raced from his goal into the path of Cavaleiro, who should have done better than fire straight into Silva’s chest with an empty net to aim for.
Werner was finally introduced 17 minutes from time, but it was Lampard’s trusted lieutenant Mount who made the breakthrough as he pounced after Areola flapped at Ben Chilwell’s cross.
Deep into stoppage time, Werner then wasted a great chance to end his 10-game drought without a Premier League goal as he skewed well wide when one-on-one with Areola.


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Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz tests positive for coronavirus | Football News

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MILAN: Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz will miss the Italian Supercup next week after the Spanish international tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.
All other players and staff members, who underwent tests before Sunday’s Serie A match against Fiorentina were all negative, the club said.
Napoli play Juventus in the Italian Supercup in Reggio Emilio next Wednesday.
“Unfortunately I have tested positive for COVID,” Ruiz said in a statement on Twitter.
“I am isolating at home and following all the protocols set by Napoli and Serie A. I am doing well and so is my family.
“I will be back working with the team when I have fully recovered. Meanwhile I’ll continue to support the team from home.”
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has not yet recovered from the virus, having tested positive following his return from Nigeria after the Christmas holidays.


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PSG beat Angers to go top of Ligue 1 without Pochettino | Football News

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PARIS: A rare Layvin Kurzawa goal was enough for Paris Saint-Germain to beat Angers 1-0 on Saturday and go top of Ligue 1 despite coach Mauricio Pochettino testing positive for Covid-19 before the game.
Kurzawa scored with 20 minutes left at the Stade Raymond Kopa to send PSG provisionally two points clear of Lyon, who will have the chance to reclaim first place when they host Metz on Sunday.
Assistants Jesus Perez and Miguel D’Agostino took charge of the PSG side with Pochettino having to self-isolate after the announcement on Friday that he had contracted the virus.
The Argentine’s positive test followed those of three Paris players — Brazilian Rafinha, Germany’s Thilo Kehrer and French Under-21 international Colin Dagba — in the last week.
However, Neymar made his return to the starting line-up in Angers for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in a defeat to Lyon a month ago.
With Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria also starting behind Moise Kean in attack, it was a strong Parisian line-up but they appeared to play within themselves against an Angers side who sit seventh.
The home team even almost went ahead early in the second half when a Lois Diony diving header from close range was well saved by Keylor Navas.
Stephane Bahoken also saw an attempt deflected over before PSG broke through in the 70th minute.
Alessandro Florenzi’s cross from the right was inadvertently helped on by Angers defender Romain Thomas for Kurzawa, arriving from left-back, to score his first goal in almost a year with a first-time cushioned volley at the back post.
It was a third win in four games for PSG since former Tottenham Hotspur coach Pochettino was appointed two weeks ago.
He won his maiden trophy in midweek when the reigning Ligue 1 champions beat Marseille 2-1 to claim the Champions Trophy, the French equivalent of a Super Cup.
Before Lyon play on Sunday night, third-placed Lille can also go level on points again with PSG if they beat Reims.
Meaanwhile Marseille’s hopes of staying in the title race were dealt another blow earlier on Saturday as Florian Thauvin missed a penalty in a shock 2-1 home defeat by struggling Nimes.
France World Cup winner Thauvin sent a woeful spot-kick wide in the first half and Swedish winger Niclas Eliasson then converted twice from close range after the break to give the away side an unassailable lead behind closed doors at the Velodrome.
Argentine forward Dario Benedetto pulled one back late on for Andre Villas-Boas’s side but this result left them with just one win in six Ligue 1 games.
Marseille are sixth in the league, now 10 points behind leaders PSG, albeit still with two games in hand.
“We risk losing touch with the teams at the top, who are more consistent than us,” said Villas-Boas.
“We were very bad and we paid an expensive price for it. We can’t go from playing well against Paris to a miserable match like today.”
Nimes move off the foot of the table after their first win in nine, but they remain in the bottom three.
The two sides below them, Lorient and Dijon, had their clash set for Sunday postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak at the Brittany club.


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