ADF troops arrive in Victoria ahead of international arrivals influx


Over 100 ADF troops have arrived in Victoria to start training ahead of an influx of international arrivals due to begin coming in on Monday.

Monday December 7 will be the first time international travellers are accepted into Melbourne since June 30.

Arrivals will take part in the state’s revamped hotel quarantine program, with further ADF troops set to arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday.



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Brisbane Heat international cricketer Mujeeb Ur Rahman tests positive to COVID-19 in hotel quarantine



Brisbane Heat cricketer Mujeeb Ur Rahman has tested positive for coronavirus while in hotel quarantine in Queensland.

The Afghanistan international travelled from Kabul last week for his third season with the Heat before reporting COVID-19 symptoms during his mandatory quarantine period this week.

He has been admitted to Gold Coast University Hospital at Southport.

The 19-year-old spinner will remain in the care of the Queensland Health Department until he is cleared to play with the Heat in the upcoming Big Bash League season.

It comes as Queensland recorded two new cases of coronavirus on Friday, both in hotel quarantine.

Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said the welfare of Mujeeb was of the highest concern for the state’s cricket officials.

“We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure the integrity of the competition and wellbeing of the player are suitably addressed,” he said.

Mujeeb has represented Afghanistan in one Test and 32 one day internationals and plays in the Indian Premier League for Kings XI Punjab.

Making his international debut at the age of 16, Mujeeb was named Brisbane Heat player of the season last year.

The world’s number two ranked T20 bowler, he played in Afghanistan’s first-ever Test match against India in 2018.

Brisbane Heat will begin its BBL 10 campaign against the Melbourne Stars at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on December 11.

Queensland has a total of 10 active cases remaining across the state.



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England’s T20 international side sends messages to the team during game with coded ‘signals’ from the balcony


Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has spoken out against a decision by the team to send coded information using signals during a T20 international against South Africa.

But England skipper Eoin Morgan defended the move, saying he was happy it was within the spirit of the game.

The practice came under the spotlight in England’s final T20 international against South Africa earlier this week.

Team analyst Nathan Leamon was shown by TV cameras hanging signs with letters and numerals on the balcony so they could be seen from the field while Morgan’s team was fielding.

England swept the T20 international series with South Africa 3-0.

The third game in Cape Town saw England chase down a target of 192 with 14 balls to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 99 from Dawid Malan, after South Africa made 3-191 off their 20 overs.

Michael Vaughan says any team featuring Eoin Morgan (right) and Jos Buttler (left) does not need to worry about coded signals.(AFP: Rodger Bosch)

Speaking on BBC radio, Vaughan said he didn’t feel the England side — that reached number one in the world T20 team rankings with the win in Cape Town — needed to “show the opposition anything”.

“Eoin Morgan is the greatest white-ball captain we [England] have had by some distance, Jos Buttler’s probably the greatest white-ball cricketer we’ve ever had behind the stumps,” Vaughan said.

“I just don’t understand why you’d want to give the opposition any sort of information from the balcony.

Vaughan said if there was a need to send information to the captain to remind him who the best bowling match-ups for batsmen were, it could be handled by a message run out by the 12th man.

He said he “liked things done privately,” rather than exposed to others through signals.

International cricket teammates gather in celebration after taking a wicket in a T20 match.
England’s series sweep over South Africa gave the team the world number one ranking in T20 cricket.(AP: Halden Krog)

The strategy was reportedly cleared in advance by the match referee, but Vaughan said he felt that the practice could be a problem with cricket’s anti-corruption approach.

“We’ve been hounded with anti-corruption and match-fixing problems within cricket for many, many years,” he said.

“I’ve no idea how the ICC can clear an analyst giving information to the team from the sideline.

“I know it’s been mentioned that you can pass a piece of paper [to the players] and that’s fine, because it’s private.

“A 12th man can run on a bit of information and that’s private, but by deliberately putting signals on a balcony [that’s different].

“I think the ICC have to look at this and go now, ‘Wait a minute, why would we allow some kind of signalling to go on from the balcony that could potentially — I’m just saying potentially — could be picked up by someone in that ground that could be used in some kind of corruption?'”

England will ‘definitely continue’ with signals, says Morgan

Morgan rejected suggestions there was anything wrong with the tactic.

“There is nothing untoward about it. It is about maximising information that we are taking in and measuring it against things, coaches’ recommendations … the data about what is going on.

“We are definitely going to continue with it and give it enough sample size to see if it makes a difference to, or improves, our decision-making on the field or improves our performance, or it might tell us more about how we understand information that we are taking in during games.”

AP/ABC



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India wins final One Day International as WA allrounder Ashton Agar suffers injury scare


India secured a consolation win in the final One Day International at Manuka Oval tonight while Australia sweat on the fitness of allrounder Ashton Agar after an apparent calf injury.

India batsman Hardik Pandya’s destructive 92 off 78 balls lifted the visitors to the 13-run victory in a damaging display of death batting.

NSW seamer Sean Abbott (1-84) copped the brunt of Pandya and Ravi Jadeja’s (66no) striking as they lifted India to a 302-run total.

In reply, Marnus Labuschagne was elevated to open alongside captain Aaron Finch (75) but couldn’t capitalise on the elevation, playing onto his stumps for seven.

Cricket: In his first game representing India, Thangarasu Natarajan picked up his first ever wicket at the top level, dismissing Aussie ace Marnus Labuschagne.

Cricket: In his first game representing India, Thangarasu Natarajan picked up his first ever wicket at the top level, dismissing Aussie ace Marnus Labuschagne.

WA debutant Cameron Green looked every bit at home in the middle for his 21, before his innings was prematurely ended by a sublime Jadeja catch.

Explosive middle-order striker Glenn Maxwell (59) was at his trademark best, blasting four maximums as he built what looked to be a match-winning partnership alongside WA allrounder Ashton Agar (28).

However a centimetre perfect Jaspit Bumrah yorker ended the 58-run stand – and Australia’s hopes – with the key wicket.

Agar appeared to sustain a calf injury throughout the partnership, attended to by head physio David Beakley as he gingerly ran between the wickets.

The left-hander continued to bat but looked to minimise his running, turning down a quick second run on a few occasions.

Ashton Agar of Australia has his injured calf seen to by Australian Team Physiotherapist David Beakley.
Camera IconAshton Agar of Australia has his injured calf seen to by Australian Team Physiotherapist David Beakley. Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Cricket Australia will sweat on the results of the Agar’s fitness with David Warner (groin), Mitchell Starc (side) and Pat Cummins (rested) already missing from their best white-ball line up.

Australia has little time to rue the loss, with the Twenty20 series opener to be played on Friday night at the same venue.

The second and third fixtures will return to the SCG, where the One Day International series started.

Steve Smith was awarded player of the ODI series for his consecutive 62-ball tons in the opening two matches.

Pandya was named player of the third and final ODI for his match-winning knock.



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New Victorian Hotel Quarantine System

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New Developments Underway As Overseer Was Chosen

The Government of Victoria will establish an agency dedicated to run the state’s hotel quarantine system, which will resume when international flights into Melbourne return next month. This program will be known as COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV).

In line with this, after careful deliberation, the new overseer was chosen, Corrections Commissioner Emma Cassar.

Under the developed quarantine system, all staff will be exclusively employed by the new agency, and only one cleaner will work at one site. Prior to that, staff will be tested for coronavirus daily, and their households will also undergo regular testing.

On the other hand, Victoria Police will be taking the lead role in the supervision and enforcement of hotel quarantine with all the support by the Australian Defense Force personnel. However, no private security will be employed to work in quarantine hotels.

According to Premier Daniel Andrews, it was inevitable that there would be coronavirus cases among passengers entering Victoria from overseas when flights will resume on December 7.

“There are many lessons that have to be learned in relation to hotel quarantine and we have learnt those lessons, both from Victoria’s experience but also from experiences in Adelaide, experiences in Sydney,” he said.

He added, “breaches out of hotel quarantine are not unique to Victoria, what we have to be though, is focused on the best system, the strongest system to keep Victorians safe.”

Once quarantined, residents in the hotel will no longer be allowed to leave their rooms for fresh air or exercise breaks under the new system, unless there is medical, mental health or humanitarian reasons.

Upon appointment of Ms Cassar, she revealed that the new quarantine agency would completely reset all the hotel cleaning and functions ahead of the resumption of international flight into Melbourne.

“We will start assertive screening for all returned travellers at the airport, those who are symptomatic or have temperatures will be taken directly to the health hotel,” she said.

Moreover, staff had been conducting simulations of the new hotel quarantine protocols and screening measures for the past week. In affirmation, they assured that they are ready to take returned travellers on Monday.

Consequently, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be separated into two separate agencies as the State Government continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

There will a pure dedicated Department of Health and the other functions will be under the auspices of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). As per Premier Daniel Andrews, he assured that no job losses will be experienced despite the split.

Australia record One Day International series win against India but sweat on David Warner injury update


Consecutive centuries from Steve Smith have delivered Australia an ODI series victory over India, who suffered a 51-run loss at the SCG on Sunday despite a stirring chase led by Virat Kohli.

Smith backed up Friday’s sparkling 105 with a masterful 104 in the second one- dayer, guiding Australia to a record-breaking total of 4-389.

Kohli, whose composed knock of 89 never looked like stopping until a diving Moises Henriques reeled in a spectacular catch at midwicket in the 35th over, created all manner of headaches for Australia.

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India’s skipper was well supported by KL Rahul (76), while Mitchell Starc was hammered for 0-82 from nine overs.

However, the hosts had far too many runs to play with and the game ground to another belated finish at 10.46pm AEDT.

Smith chipped in with two catches as India finished 9-338, ensuring Wednesday’s series finale in Canberra will be a dead rubber.

Australia’s victory was soured by an adductor injury suffered by David Warner, who was rushed off for scans after a fielding mishap.

Aaron Finch of Australia congratulates Adam Zampa of Australia after dismissing KL Rahul.
Camera IconAaron Finch of Australia congratulates Adam Zampa of Australia after dismissing KL Rahul. Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

But Smith sounded another ominous warning that he could be in for a big summer, sapping the morale of India’s bowlers as the temperature hit 40C.

The right-hander picked gaps with ease, shuffled around the pitch with typical abandon for the textbook and produced another spellbinding highlight reel to celebrate consecutive one-day tons for the first time in a decorated career.

There were countless parallels with Smith’s previous mauling of the same attack at the same ground, which piloted Australia to 6-374 and a 66-run win in the series opener.

Remarkably, Smith took 62 deliveries to reach three figures on both occasions.

On Friday, Aaron Finch won the toss and shared a 156-run stand with Warner before Smith took charge of the contest.

On Sunday, Finch opted to bat and enjoyed a 142-run partnership with Warner before Smith marched Australia to their highest ODI score at the venue.

The gifted batsman would likely have completed Sunday’s century in 61 balls if not for an untimely stumble from batting partner Marnus Labuschagne in the 41st over.

Smith ticked off the milestone during the same over, ripping off his helmet and kissing the badge before hugging his protege.

The former skipper fumed at himself soon after, having tried to get too funky while edging Hardik Pandya’s delivery straight to Mohammed Shami, but the damage was well and truly done.

Glenn Maxwell recovered from a bouncer blow to the helmet and delivered another entertaining cameo, finishing 63 not out from 29 balls, while Labuschagne (70), Finch (60) and Warner (83) also scored freely.



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Townsville Fire’s rising WNBL star Shyla Heal tipped for ‘enormously bright future’ in international basketball

Shyla Heal’s future in international basketball is as big as her trademark triple and as bright as her beaming smile.

The 19-year-old point guard from the Townsville Fire — and youngest daughter of former NBA player, NBL star and coach, and four-time Olympian Shane Heal — is making waves and winning games in the WNBL.

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There is plenty of hype around Heal, who is already a national squad member and tipped to be a first-round selection in next year’s WNBA draft.

And there is extra attention and expectation when you also carry a famous basketball surname.

So, who is Shyla Heal?

“I’m probably one of the hardest workers, I pride myself on outworking my competitors but also being the hardest worker on my team,” Heal told ABC Sport.

And where did she learn to shoot like that?

“I’d have to say my dad,” laughed Heal.

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‘A true professional’

Heal made her WNBL debut at the ripe old age of 14 with the now defunct SEQ Stars, who were coached by her father.

Later, she joined the Perth Lynx, where she was sidelined for much of her time with the club because of injury, before moving to the Bendigo Spirit in the 2019-20 season.

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With 30 points against the Lynx last January, she became the first teenager since Australia’s-greatest ever basketballer Lauren Jackson to achieve that feat in a WNBL game.

Her off-season move to Townsville was made so she could play for Fire coach Shannon Seebohm, one of the best women’s basketball mentors in the country.

“Shannon was what attracted me to the club. I love playing under him, I love his offences,” Heal said.

“He shows me film after each game and for me it’s all about development at a young age. Getting better each game is the biggest thing for me and I definitely knew he’d provide that at Townsville and that’s why I came here.

“I love playing with this Townsville team, they’re all awesome. I also love playing with [Australian Opals squad member] Lauren Nicholson, being in the backcourt with her.

“She’s not only good offensively but defensively, she’s awesome. Loz [Nicholson] has taken me under her wing and we’re playing really well together.”

Seebohm is full of praise for his young star.

“Shyla’s one of the hardest working players that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“When we first signed her, you stay in contact each week and the amount of work she was putting in to be ready for this season was incredible and you can tell from watching her play the amount of time she’s put in on her game, her skills and her shooting.

A hunger to learn was one of Heal’s biggest strengths, according to Seebohm.

“Shyla is a sponge,” Seebohm said.

“She actively seeks out feedback, watches video and wants to see ways she can improve her play and improve her basketball IQ, make better reads on the court, get her teammates involved.

“She’s just a true professional at the age of 19.”

Making her mark in the WNBL

Heal is averaging 15.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists, and in round two of the WNBL season she took her team on her shoulders to back-to-back wins within 24 hours.

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She said she has yet to reach her peak.

“I still think I have a lot to get better at obviously as the games go on. I haven’t felt I’ve played my best yet,” Heal said.

“I’m slowly just getting into it, trying to really play the role Shannon wants me to play, create for my teammates but also create for myself as well, being that true point guard and playing my role.

“This is the first season I’ve played the point guard spot, which is my actual position, so last year at Bendigo I played the two-three spot, the year before in Perth I was injured.

“I feel so much more natural being able to set my teammates up and I feel a lot more confident and that all my work in the off-season with my dad is starting to pay off.”

Dad gives a helping hand

Heal said her dad is her biggest influence.

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“Having dad by my side is awesome, not just for advice but everything I’m going through, he’s been through,” she said.

“In the off-season in Sydney we really focused on developing my game, getting better each day for this WNBL season and we worked out every weekday through COVID, whether it was an outdoor court, if they were open, or indoor. We got it done and we’re happy we did.”

So, what does she make of all the hype and external noise?

“I do hear it. I’m just trying to block it all out,” Heal said.

Getting drafted to the WNBA and representing the Opals at an Olympic Games have long been goals and may not be that far away as a big 2021 looms.

“A lot obviously depends on this season but I’m really trying not to think that far ahead,” Heal said.

“I’m focused on playing my role like Shannon wants me to and getting better each day and if I get better each day, I feel like everything will fall into place.

“If you think about it too much, it just adds more pressure.”

Heal said she was focused on the Fire and just how far they could go, as the race for the WNBL championship unfolds on their home turf in the league’s hub in North Queensland.

“Personally, I just want to keep getting better each game, being more a student of the game and coming up against the more experienced point guards like [WNBA and Australian Opals point guard] Leilani Mitchell.

“I just want to play well, help my team and lead my team like I have been.”

Round three of the WNBL continues this afternoon with Adelaide facing Sydney Uni from 5:00pm AEDT on ABC TV.

Megan Hustwaite has covered the WNBL for the past 12 seasons and is a member of the ABC Sport commentary team.



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