England only play Ashes series as the best players in the roster

England will only travel to Australia in December and January for the Ashes series if its leading players are on the roster.

That was the message from the England and Wales Cricket Board on Monday, with the sport’s national governing body saying it will announce this week whether the tour will go ahead amid concerns about restrictions in place in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. .

An ECB statement said there has been “regular and positive dialogue” with Cricket Australia over arrangements for the Ashes series, one of the biggest occasions in cricket.

However, England players are concerned about the conditions they will have to live in after arriving in Australia, such as the quarantine arrangements and whether family members are allowed to travel.

The ECB said the priority was to ensure the tour can take place “with conditions for players and management to perform at their best.”

“We will continue to talk to our players this week to share the latest information and ask for feedback,” the ECB said.

Significantly, the governing body added that the squad selected “matched a range of this significance”.

With the World Twenty20 competition taking place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from October 17 to November 14 and the five-test Ashes series starting December 8 in Brisbane, plus quarantine on either side and in front of the Ashes, some players may be away from home for more than three months.

England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes is currently missing for England as he is taking a break from cricket to protect his sanity.

England captain Joe Root has not pledged to join the Ashes in the ongoing talks, and Australian captain Tim Paine said last week: “The Ashes continue…whether Joe is here or not.”

The ECB statement suggests that this is not the case and that England will not agree to bring a weakened squad to Australia.

Cricket Australia released a statement saying it offered a plan “with conditions that will allow players from both teams to perform at their best during the Ashes.”

“The health and well-being of both squads and ensuring the tour proceeds in a safe manner is a priority.”

Teams from the West Indies, Pakistan and Australia traveled to England last year in the wake of the international sports closure and played matches under strict isolation conditions, allowing international cricket to resume after a few months’ absence.

England’s international schedule has undergone repeated changes during the pandemic.

The team returned home early from touring Sri Lanka and South Africa in 2020, and the fifth Test against India in the recent England series was halted on the morning of the match after the Indian squad decided not to play due to fears. for a COVID-19 outbreak.

England also canceled visits to Bangladesh and Pakistan that were scheduled to take place this month ahead of the World T20.

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