ECB set for decision over Ashes

The England and Wales Cricket Board will meet this week to decide whether the men’s Ashes will go ahead this winter after players were given an update on travel arrangements for the tour.
England captain Joe RootEngland captain Joe Root
England captain Joe Root

Australia’s stringent approach to coronavirus restrictions has cast doubt on the marquee series, which is scheduled to begin in December, with England players understood to harbour concerns over quarantine, bubble environments and access for families.

The ECB has now made a presentation on Cricket Australia’s proposals and is awaiting to hear how many of their first-choice side is prepared to commit.

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A statement read: “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.”

Cricket’s once predictable future tours programme has been blown to the wind by the onset of the pandemic, with England’s schedule undergoing repeated changes.

The Ashes is one of the biggest contests in international sport and while administrators on both sides are eager for it to go ahead as planned, the ECB made it clear the views of the team will ultimately decide the matter.

England captain Joe Root has stopped short of confirming he would lead the squad in Australia, saying only that he was seeking greater clarity about the ground rules of the trip.

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His vice-captain Jos Buttler, who is setting off to the T20 World Cup on Monday, has also said making both trips without seeing his family would cross a personal red line.

Crucially, both Root and Buttler have two young children, amplifying their concerns over the issues over families being welcome Down Under. Other players are merely worried about bubble fatigue having spent extended periods in locked down environments for large parts of the last two years.