The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have released a statement on the Ashes tour, saying that they will make a decision over ‘whether the conditions in place are sufficient for the tour to go ahead’ later this week.
Notably, the upcoming Ashes tour to Australia has been in doubt due to the quarantine issues and uncertainty on whether the England players’ could accompany their families with them or not during the long tour, featuring five Tests.
“Over the weekend we have been talking to England men’s players and management to provide them with the latest information about the proposed arrangements for this winter’s scheduled Ashes tour,” the ECB said on Monday.
“We remain in regular and positive dialogue with Cricket Australia over these arrangements as the picture is constantly evolving. With health and wellbeing at the forefront, our focus is to ensure the tour can go ahead with conditions for players and management to perform at their best. We will continue talking to our players this week to share the latest information and seek feedback. 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,” it added.
The series is scheduled to start from December 8 and end on January 18.
Recently, England captain Joe Root had said he was desperate to be part of the tour however, did not confirm his participation.
Last month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on behalf of his country’s cricketers, had pleaded with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Washington DC last month for the families to be allowed to travel to Australia.
Earlier, several England cricketers had expressed their displeasure over the tough quarantine rules in Australia.
Along with Root some of the other England members had earlier cited Australia’s strict quarantine and travel protocols as the major reasons for their reluctance to tour Australia following which the respective boards of the two teams have induldged in dialogue.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, Australia have put some strict rules under place for people arriving from abroad and there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine even if the person is fully vaccinated which means England team’s family members may not be allowed to travel with them.
Notably, not being with their families during the long tour has been a major deterrent for many England’s players.
Recently, former England batsman Kevin Pietersen had said that the players are now done with the bubble life and he wouldn’t travel unless the ridiculous quarantine rules are crushed so that his family can travel without any restrictions.
England vice-captain Jos Buttler has said that he will not travel to Australia for the Ashes if families are not allowed and sought clarity about the Covid-19 protocols for the tour.
“Yes, definitely for myself. If I had to do a World Cup and an Ashes – four, five months without seeing my family – I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that,” Buttler was quoted as saying by Skysport.
“We’re still waiting for more information, as soon as possible. Hopefully, in the next few days there’ll be more information. As soon as you get that it makes it easier to know what decision you’re making,” he added.
Buttler, however, felt the two boards will find a solution to the issue.
“The ECB and Cricket Australia will be working very hard together to make it as good as possible. It’s tough to make a decision when you don’t have all the answers. In Covid times, there is always going to be some sort of question that is difficult to answer. It could be changeable, it would be naive not to say so in the times we’re living in, but you want to go there with as many assurances as possible,” he opined.