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NBA tightens Covid-19 safety measures as postponements rise | NBA News

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NEW YORK: The NBA and its players union updated Covid-19 health and safety protocols on Tuesday, adding tougher new rules in the wake of increasing player cases and game postponements.
NBA and National Basketball Players Association officials talked Monday and NBA team owners spoke Tuesday to approve tighter measures for players for home and road activities, as well as in using facemasks.
The league announced a fifth game postponement on Tuesday, the third involving a Boston Celtics team depleted by Covid-19 testing and contact tracing, and vowed to amend measures as needed as the pandemic evolves and the number of players on the virus reserve list increases.
The new measures were imposed “in response to the surge of Covid-19 cases across the country and an uptick among NBA teams requiring potential player quarantines,” a league statement said.
For at least the next two weeks, players and team staffers are requird to remain at their residence at all times when the club is at home except to attend team-related activities, exercise outside or perform essential activities, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Interactions away from the NBA club are limited to household members, family and any personal staff working regularly in the home.
When the club is on the road, players and team staff are banned from leaving the hotel, except for team activities or emergencies, or interacting with non-team guests.
Any pre-game meetings in the locker room are limited to no more than 10 minutes and all in attendance must wear a facemask.
All other meetings must be on the court, an NBA-approved area or at the arena in a room large enough to allow for social distancing with masks a must.
Teams must create a seating plan for flights so players with seats nearest each other on the bench for NBA games are nearest to each other on plane flights.
Any hotel treatment sessions, including physical therapy and massages, must take place in a ballroom or other other area allowing 12 feet between each station, with facemasks and face shields required for all involved.
Players cannot arrive at arenas more than three hours before tip-off.
Any interactions between players before and after games are limited to elbow or fist bumps with social distancing maintained as much as possible and “extended socializing” to be avoided.
Players must wear facemasks on the bench at all times and must enter and exit games through “cool down chairs” at least 12 feet from the bench with chairs six feet apart — an area where masking is not required.
After the cooldown period, a player must don a mask and return to his assigned seat.
Masks are required in locker rooms, at strength and conditioning activities and for travel with anyone other than a household member.
Coaches and other team staff must wear facemasks at all times during games.
Anyone regularly visiting a players home for a professional activity, such as a trainer, must undergo Covid-19 testing twice a week.
For teams with a positive player or high-risk staff member case, the NBA can require players and staff to undergo five consecutive days of twice-a-day lab Covid-19 testing in addition to usual daily testing.


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Relatable Sports YouTube Fails

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In this video, a man fails to find his footing when he attempts to leap into the dreaded Double Dutch jump ropes.

I played every sport and activity in P.E., but I could not for the life of me solve the duel jump ropes. I thought there was some kind of witchcraft afoot and never successfully jumped in without kicking the ropes.


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Young Australian cricketers still in primary school compared to Indian counterparts: Greg Chappell | Cricket News

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MELBOURNE: Young Australian cricketers are still in “primary school” compared to their Indian counterparts, feels former India coach Greg Chappell and has urged his country’s cricket board to invest in talent to avoid becoming “also-rans” in no time.
An injury-hit India sans their star players notched up an incredible 2-1 win over Australia in the four-Test series and Chappell believes it is the robust domestic structure and efforts put in by BCCI which prepares its youngsters to take on the rigours of international cricket.

“Our young cricketers are weekend warriors compared to their Indian compatriots, who get challenging matchplay from the Under-16 age group onwards,” Chappell wrote in a column for ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.
“By the time an Indian player reaches the national XI, he has had an all-round apprenticeship that prepares him to walk into the Indian side with a reasonable chance of success.
“I am afraid, in comparison, Will Pucovski and Cameron Green are still in primary school in terms of experience.”
Pointing out the huge difference in the amount spent by the two boards, Chappell said Cricket Australia “cannot be making 1960s Holdens in this age of electric cars.”

Will Pucovski. (AFP Photo)
“The BCCI is investing millions of dollars in budding Indian cricketers. Cricket Australia, by comparison, spends $44m dollars on the Sheffield Shield. The comparative spending gap isn’t a gulf; it is the size of the Indian Ocean,” he wrote.
“If Cricket Australia doesn’t realise what it takes to be competitive in Test cricket and our entire cricket administration does not change its attitude on where to invest in talent, we will be also-rans in no time.”
Chappell said “the skill level of Indian youth teams would embarrass some of our first-class teams”.
“Their ability to deal with pressure has been cultivated in the cauldron of hard-fought matches. That level of intensity cannot be replicated in nets or against lesser opponents. The fact that India has 38 first-class teams should give you an idea of the depth of talent available,” he wrote.

“What one sees when watching Indian youth and A teams is the surprising degree of maturity and an intuitive understanding of all aspects of the game. It is as rare as it is stark. So much so that one can be forgiven for thinking a team of men is playing a group of schoolboys.”
Chappell said India’s “level of investment from grassroots up has left the rest of the cricket world in its wake” and “the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on cricket coffers around the world will only widen the gap between India and the have-nots.”
“For those of you who were surprised that India could deal with all that was thrown at them in this series, and could hold their nerve and win in such courageous fashion, I say: you better get used to it.
“Don’t worry about India becoming the best team – they are already capable of producing the best five teams in world cricket!”

Chappell also felt it was a mistake to play the same bowlers in all the four Tests.
“The biggest mistake was playing the same four bowlers in every Test. For pacemen, playing four Tests in five weeks is akin to running four marathons in as many weeks. There were signs in Sydney that Mitchell Starc, in particular, was jaded,” he wrote.
The former Australian batsman blamed the batsmen for the loss.
“I don’t blame Tim Paine and our bowlers for this defeat. The culpability lies fairly and squarely with the batsmen, who simply didn’t make enough runs on friendly wickets.”
Chappell said Australia will soon need to find replacements for David Warner and Steve Smith.

“Our days of domination are past, unless we start producing a group of batsmen who bat through 125 overs in the first innings. David Warner is struggling and Steve Smith won’t be around forever, so we need to find the champions who are going to replace them – and soon.”
He also backed Paine, who faced a lot of criticism for his wicket-keeping and captaincy.
“For those calling out for heads to roll, especially those seeking Tim Paine’s head on a pike, I say REALLY? Tim is one of only five players who can claim an automatic place in this Australian team. Sure, he didn’t have his best Test series behind the stumps, but he still averaged 40 with the bat,” he wrote.


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Andy Murray to miss Australian Open | Tennis News

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LONDON: Former world number one Andy Murray will not be taking part in next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.
“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray was quoted as saying by British media on Friday.
“We’ve been in constant dialogue…to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) tweeted that Murray had confirmed he would miss the first Grand Slam of the year.

The 33-year-old, a wildcard, said last Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus and was in self-isolation at his home near London.



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