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Staying in bio-secure bubbles a big sacrifice, says Trent Boult | Cricket News

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WELLINGTON: New Zealand pace spearhead Trent Boult feels living out of a suitcase in bio-secure bubbles is going to play a “big role” in the way cricketers plan their schedules as the international calendar picks up.
Bolt, who joins a list of big names voicing concerns about life in bio-secure bubbles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, called it “a big sacrifice”.
“I can’t speak for everyone but it’s definitely going to play a big role in the game,” Boult was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
“Having to come back to New Zealand you have to spend two weeks in a hotel before you can even be let out. It’s crazy what the world is facing at the moment, it’s almost surreal, and it’s going to be a hard one to say what guys are feeling and what they’re able to do.”

The New Zealander played a big part in Mumbai Indians‘ fifth title triumph in the IPL recently.
“Speaking from playing in the IPL I’ve just been to, it’s brilliant to be back out on the field and offer something for everyone to watch and it was closely followed all around the world,” he added.
Prior to Boult, the likes of David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Kagiso Rabada expressed their apprehensions with the South African fast bowler comparing bio-bubbles with luxury prisons.
Boult is currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine in Christchurch after returning from the IPL in the UAE.
New Zealand’s next assignment is a home T20I series against West Indies, starting November 27, for which Boult has been rested.
The pacer, however, will be part of the Test matches starting December 3 in Hamilton.
“Yeah, I think it’s going to be a tough one to forecast. Having experienced three and a half months away from my young family.
“I have two young boys and a wife back home whom I haven’t seen – so you can imagine it’s a big sacrifice to just pack up and leave for a quarter of the year and looking at potential tours next year, there’s potential to be away for nine to ten months,” Boult said.


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In a first, India to clash with India A in England before Test series

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In an unprecedented build-up schedule for an overseas Test series, India will take on India A in a four-day practice match when the two sides travel to England later this year.

The game will be played at the County Ground in Northamptonshire in July later this year. The exact dates of the match will be unveiled later.

The India cricket team is scheduled to tour England in August and September to play five Test matches, beginning with the opening game at Nottingham on August 4.

“Some of the world’s finest international cricketers will be on show at The County Ground this summer as we welcome India and India A,” Northamptonshire County Cricket Club said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“Ahead of India’s five test series against England in August, Virat Kohli‘s Indian side take on India A in a four-day warmup fixture that promises to be a showcase of high-quality cricket.”

The second warm-up match is scheduled in Leicestershire on July 28.

“The Indian tour party will then travel to Leicestershire the following week for a second warmup fixture beginning the 28th of July,” the statement said.

The second (August 12-16) and fourth Tests (September 2-6) will be held in London, while the third (August 25-29) and fifth (September 10-14) Tests are scheduled in Leeds and Manchester.

England is currently in India to play four Tests, beginning in Chennai on February 5.

It will be followed by five T20Is and three ODIs.



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Chelsea start Thomas Tuchel era with 0-0 draw against Wolves | Football News

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LONDON: Thomas Tuchel was unable to spark an immediate improvement at troubled Chelsea as Wolves held on for a 0-0 draw in the German’s first match in charge of the Blues on Wednesday.
Tuchel’s side delivered a laboured display that bore many of the hallmarks of the dismal defeats that prompted Frank Lampard‘s sacking on Monday.
Chelsea controlled possession but could not find enough rhythm to break down stubborn Wolves at a rain-lashed Stamford Bridge.

It was an inauspicious start to the Tuchel era in west London, but the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss will believe he can reverse Chelsea’s fortunes given time.
Chelsea have won just two of their last nine league matches and sit in eighth place, five points adrift of the top four.
Tuchel only took training with Chelsea’s players for the first time on Tuesday evening after being appointed earlier in the day.
The 47-year-old has signed an 18-month contract to become the 11th full-time manager appointed by Roman Abramovich since he bought Chelsea in 2003.

Whether he lasts the duration of that deal — Lampard only just made it to 18 months in charge — remains to be seen.
There is no doubting the size of the task facing Tuchel, who was sacked by PSG in December after losing a power struggle with the French club’s sporting director Leonardo.
Describing his last 48 hours as “surreal”, Tuchel said he wanted to install a “winning mentality” to banish the tension currently engulfing Chelsea because they “are not in the place they should be”.
All eyes were on Tuchel’s first team-sheet and he made four changes from Lampard’s last Premier League game at Leicester.
His first eye-catching decision was to leave out midfielder Mason Mount, who was one of Lampard’s favourites.
Tuchel admitted he had opted for experience over youth as Jorginho, Olivier Giroud, Hakim Ziyech and Cesar Azpilicueta came in for Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Christian Pulisic.

Germany’s Antonio Rudiger, who reportedly had a fractious relationship with Lampard, started at centre-back, but his compatriot Timo Werner was among the substitutes after 11 league games without a goal.
Wrapped up in a thick Chelsea puffa jacket, Tuchel took his place on the bench while a Supporters Group banner reading ‘In Frank We Trust, Then, Now and Forever’ hung from the empty Shed End.
It was reported the banner, first used for Lampard’s final match against Luton, would be taken down after Wolves’ visit.
With no fans allowed in due to the pandemic, there was no danger of any negative reaction to Tuchel stepping into the legendary Lampard’s shoes.
It was not long before Tuchel’s notoriously intense personality started to show as he waved his arms in frustration when Giroud failed to reach Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross in the opening moments.
Using three centre-backs in a 3-4-2-1 formation very different to Lampard’s approach, Tuchel deployed Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell as wing-backs.
The new-look Chelsea had plenty of possession but, as was often the case under Lampard, they lacked a cutting edge.
Tuchel sprang to his feet to bark orders from the touchline as Chelsea struggled to break down the well-drilled Wolves defence.
Chelsea made 433 successful passes in the first half — their most in the opening period of a Premier League game since 2003-04.
But they were too ponderous to take advantage of that territorial dominance and it was a similar story after the interval.
Wolves nearly caught Tuchel’s men with a sucker punch as Pedro Neto ran onto Daniel Podence’s flick and raced into the Chelsea area before clipping a shot over Edouard Mendy and onto the crossbar.
Mount’s introduction in the closing stages gave Chelsea some momentum and the midfielder teed up Hudson-Odoi to test Rui Patricio.
If Lampard could bring himself to watch, he would have had a wry smile as Mount nearly won it in the final moments with a powerful effort turned away by Patricio.



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Olympic chief Thomas Bach calls for ‘patience’ over Tokyo Games | More sports News

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LAUSANNE: Olympic chief Thomas Bach called on Wednesday for “patience” over the Tokyo Games, the holding of which this summer are in continued doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tokyo Olympics were originally to have taken place last year but were postponed in the face of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming the first Games in peacetime to suffer that fate.
The IOC and the Japanese organisers rescheduled the Games for July 23 to August 8 this year.
But several media reports have claimed that the Games cannot go ahead, something an exasperated Bach was quick to play down after a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board.
“We’re not losing time or energy on speculation… about whether the Games are taking place,” IOC president Bach said.
“We’re working on how the Games will take place.
“Our task is to organise Olympic Games, not to cancel Olympic Games… and that is why we will not add fuel to this speculation.”
Bach said while the complexity of organising the Games had increased as a result of the virus, “we just have to ask for patience and understanding, is the main message”.
“I think it is too early to decide anything else,” he added.
After the last executive board meeting, the IOC released a statement on December 12, the same day the Pfizer vaccine was approved in the United States, expressing its “full commitment” to staging the Games.
Since then, the emergence of more infectious virus strains has sparked debate on whether the Games can take place and whether it is morally justifiable that competitors be prioritised for vaccination.
“We always have made it clear that we are not in favour of athletes jumping the queue,” Bach stressed.
The German said the IOC was constantly accumulating knowledge on how to organise such a huge event in exceptional circumstances.
“There is no blueprint, we’re learning every day,” Bach said.
He said he understood how people living under lockdown and perhaps unable to even visit a restaurant because of Covid-19 restrictions found it hard to envisage the Games going ahead.
“The responsibility of the (Japanese) government and the IOC is to look beyond this situation,” Bach added.
And, citing the ongoing world handball championships in Egypt — a country he said was deemed high-risk for virus infections — Bach said it was right for the IOC to continue looking to hold the Games.
“We are able and in a position to offer relevant counter-measures,” he said.
“If we would think it wasn’t responsible, or the Games could not be safe, we would not go for it.”
Bach also announced the release of the first version of a “playbook” explaining the “many measures we can imagine to be applied in July and August in Tokyo”.
The document, he said, was “a huge undertaking under daily review” and covered essential issues such as immigration, potential quarantines, transportation in Tokyo, living in the Olympic Village and social distancing.
Officials have long floated the idea that the Games could go ahead without spectators.
It is an idea many sportspeople have backed, as long as they get a tilt at an Olympic medal.
“I want fans to be there, but the most important thing for a player is for the event to go ahead and be able to play,” Japanese table tennis star Mima Ito told AFP.
Australia and Canada — who both pulled their teams before the initial postponement of the Games last year — and the United States have come out in support of the rescheduled Olympics.
Greek pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi — who led calls for last year’s postponement — has said she would prefer the Olympics to be held with no fans than not at all.
Top US gymnast Simone Biles said the decision had to be based on “what’s safe for the world”, but added she was “hoping the Olympics can be put on, even if it means we’re in a bubble”.
But Japanese gymnastics star Kohei Uchimura sounded a note of caution, saying the event “can’t be held if the athletes and the people don’t feel the same way”.


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