England’s cricket board have confirmed that the scheduled Ashes tour of Australia this summer will only take place if they are able to select a squad ‘befitting a series of this significance.’
Some of England’s stars remain less than convinced by the tour amid strict Covid-19 restrictions currently in place Down Under that could prevent their families travelling with them.
Players involved in the IPL, T20 World Cup and the Ashes series could be without their loved ones for up to five months, with Jos Buttler among those willing to pull out of the tour of Australia if his wife and two young children are unable to come with him.
The ECB remain in regular contact with their counterparts at Cricket Australia as they try to agree on tour conditions that are beneficial for both parties.
On Monday, the ECB revealed in a statement that they would continue to try to make sure that the tour does go ahead, but will be in a better place to make a firmer decision later on this week.
‘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 statement said.
‘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.’
Speaking last week, former England captain Andrews Strauss believes that the Ashes ‘need to go ahead’ and urged the players to go on the tour regardless of the Covid-19 restrictions in place.
‘To me, the Ashes need to go ahead. We are learning to live with Covid-19 in this country and Australia is in a slightly different place. But the Ashes means a lot to a lot of people, and some of them are people that are going through a tough time themselves,’ he said.
‘It defies belief that all these other sports are taking place and that the Ashes doesn’t take place. There is a way of making it happen and I think we are moving in the right direction. I think there will be accommodations made and that families will get out there.
‘Personally, I think if you are selected on an Ashes tour, you should go. An Ashes tour is not the one to pull out of, in my opinion. But I understand that everyone sees things slightly differently.’
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