Cricket news 2021: England makes call on Ashes tour vs Australia, quarantine restrictions
After expressing concerns about quarantine restrictions and family arrangaements, England has reportedly made a decision about this summer’s Ashes.
This summer’s Ashes series has reportedly been given the all-clear to go ahead after a last-minute crisis meeting on Tuesday night.
The blockbuster contest between the old cricketing rivals was thrown into doubt when England players expressed significant concerns about having to do a hard 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Australia.
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Some players were considering withdrawing from the tour if the strict Covid-19 conditions meant their families were not allowed to join them inside the team’s biosecure bubble.
But those fears have been put to rest after a meeting with England’s players, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley.
According to the UK Telegraph, England has committed to sending a full-strength squad to Australia.
The publication reports a deal has been reached for the tour to go ahead, with the final tick of approval set to be formalised by the end of this week.
England captain Joe Root is believed to have confirmed his participation in the meeting, which proved decisive in ensuring the Ashes would receive the green light.
In fact, England intends to send its strongest possible team to Australia, with wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler the only senior player still considering pulling out of the series.
The 31-year-old has publicly voiced his reservations about travelling for months at a time and not being able to see his family.
Reports suggest that under the agreement, England’s players will be allowed to train and play a tour match while serving their 14-day quarantine period in Queensland.
The Age reports the partners and families of players who arrive in Australia in December for the Christmas break will be granted special quarantine accommodation. They will reportedly be hosted at a resort exclusively reserved for their use in Victoria’s Yarra Valley wine region after they fly in from the UK to Melbourne.
England’s commitment to the Ashes will come as a huge relief to Cricket Australia, which was said to be facing a $200 million loss if the marquee series was postponed or cancelled.
Earlier this week, England was still yet to agree to the quarantine conditions, sparking frantic negotiations between its board and Cricket Australia.
On Monday, the ECB released a statement that refused to guarantee the Ashes would go ahead and indicated some of the team’s senior players were still unwilling to abide by the country’s Covid-19 protocols.
“Later this week the ECB Board will meet to decide whether the conditions in place are sufficient for the Tour to go ahead and enable the selection of a squad befitting a series of this significance,” the statement read.
The first Ashes Test is scheduled to begin on 8 December at the Gabba in Brisbane.