ECB ‘very confident’ England will travel to Australia for Ashes
The England and Wales Cricket Board is “very confident” this winter’s Ashes series will go ahead as planned despite ongoing negotiations over Covid travel restrictions, according to chief executive Tom Harrison.
England players are concerned about the possibility of families being unable to join them on the trip given Australia’s tight border controls, as well as the prospect of lengthy quarantines and restrictive bubble environments.
Talks involving the Professional Cricketers’ Association have been ongoing for some time and, while Harrison admitted there were plenty of complications before a final green light could be given, he suggested the necessary exemptions would be attained.
“We are working very closely with Cricket Australia and I had my latest conversation with my counterpart at CA yesterday, we are speaking every few days on this matter,” he said.
“All the right conversations are happening at government level in Australia, and we will be using our own diplomatic channels in the UK to ensure that the view of the players and the ECB (is heard). This is not players asking for anything unreasonable, these are very reasonable requests that we are asking the Australian government to give some leniency, frankly.
“It’s going to be important for us to ensure that we can give comfort to players that their families are going to be able to be in Australia and that those conditions in which they are quarantined will be reasonable, enabling the players to be at their best in that Test series.
“It’s a conversation that’s going to take place over the next few weeks but I am very confident we will get to a place where we can fulfil our obligations to tour.”
There have been whispers that some England players would be prepared to sit out the prestigious tour if loved ones were not permitted to travel, while others have advocated postponing the entire series by a year to allow away fans to be present.
Meanwhile, England made three changes to their line-up for the second test against India, which began at Lord’s on Thursday.
Mark Wood replaced the injured Stuart Broad, while Moeen Ali was recalled in place of Dan Lawrence and Haseeb Hameed returned at number three after Zak Crawley was dropped.