England and the Wales Cricket Board have given “conditional approval” for the Ashes trip to Australia to continue this summer.
- England are expected to name their tournament team to the ashes this weekend after receiving conditional approval from the ECB
- English players and families are likely to be quarantined for two weeks at a Gold Coast resort on arrival
- The first test is scheduled to take place in Brisbane on December 8
The trip has been the subject of lengthy negotiations between Cricket Australia and the ECB, with the English players saddened by the prospect of harsh quarantine due to Australia’s international and internal border restrictions.
During the night, the ECB issued a brief statement detailing its position on the trip.
“In recent weeks we have made excellent progress in advancing on the England Men’s Ashes Tour,” the statement said.
“To facilitate further progress and make it possible to select a squad, the ECB’s Board has met today and given its approval for the trip to continue. This decision is subject to several critical conditions that are met before we travel.
“We look forward to the ongoing assistance from Cricket Australia in resolving these issues in the coming days.”
A spokesman for Cricket Australia said “everything that came out of the UK yesterday was extremely positive”.
They said the “critical issues” concerned issues related to biosecurity and obtaining visas for the tour party and that more talks would be held with the ECB over the weekend.
“The most important thing is for these people to enter the country,” the spokesman said.
The Five-Ashes series is set to begin in December.
The trip had been in doubt with several English players, including captain Joe Root, who expressed frustration over the number of isolation quarantines and bubbles, has since endured over the past 18 months as well as the possibility that the family’s team should have been heavily quarantined.
Cricket Australia has recently promised the ECB that players would undergo a two-week quarantine at a resort on the Gold Coast with the ability to train and move around.
Family members who wanted to join the tourists could quarantine with the players.
Other players and families who may come later have been promised the opportunity to quarantine in a similar way.
The ECB is expected to name the tournament party this weekend.
This team is unlikely to include star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has struggled with a finger injury and mental health issues.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer will also miss the trip due to an elbow injury, while spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali recently withdrew from test cricket citing his exhaustion with quarantine and isolation bubbles.
England’s Test specialists arrive in November, while other members of the tournament party to play in the T20 World Cup in the Middle East will later join Australian T20 players such as Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc.
These players left for the World Cup this week.
Other potential Australian Test players are playing Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia, but the situation has become difficult for players in NSW and Victoria who have been stuck in their states due to COVID outbreaks.
NSW and Victoria will play a series of Shield matches as soon as travel details can be arranged.
England will also name a second-string eleven
The first test is played in Brisbane, followed by Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth – although the Perth test is in doubt due to the hard border of Western Australia.
Cricket Australia have said it will not take into account the players making a two-week quarantine if the hard limit stays in place, meaning the test would be moved to another location.
Cricket Tasmania CEO Dominic Baker has said Hobart would be “ready and willing” to take over that test if Perth were no longer a viable option.