The England men’s team is reportedly set to play Ashes 2021 as they spoke with top Cricket Australia players on Tuesday about their concerns about the strict COVID-19 guidelines. The England and Wales Cricket Board has asked players to make a decision until the end of the week.
Ashes will go ahead only when an adequate number of top English players agree to take part in the five-match test series. The UK’s Daily Telegraph has reported that Captain Joe Root has led a group of players willing to play the series. According to the report, Jos Buttler could be the only player not to travel to Australia. Ben Stokes is on an indefinite break from the game after the ODI series against Pakistan at home and Jofra Archer was no longer available due to injury. CA has not yet been officially informed, but it will certainly breathe a huge sigh of relief given the scale of the decision.
CA CEO Nick Hockley emphasized to England players in the two separate meetings that conditions in Australia were improving as the country’s vaccination rate increased. Likewise, moving the second group of player families from England to quarantine in Melbourne before Christmas is also believed to have been crucial.
The decision to allow a second group to enter Victoria would be good news, given that there may be some freedoms for families in the Victoria region. Although the Victorian government has not made the deal official, it could be a possibility with the roadmap out of COVID-19 as Victoria approaches double dosage rates of 70 and 80 percent.
The latest concern for CA will now be the Perth test, with firm officials being granted clearance to play in Western Australia within days of being in Sydney. If that fails, Canberra or Hobart could get their first ash test. Alternatively, the match could be held as a second match at the SCG or MCG.
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