Ashes to go ahead ‘subject to conditions’

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(BBC SPORT) England men’s Ashes series in Australia this winter will go ahead “subject to several critical conditions”, says the England and Wales Cricket Board.

England had concerns over their families being allowed to travel, quarantine and ‘bubble’ arrangements amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The five-Test series is due to begin on 8 December and end on 18 January. The ECB said that “over recent weeks we have made excellent progress in moving forward” on the men’s Ashes tour.

A statement read: “To facilitate further progress and allow a squad to be selected, the ECB board has met today and given its approval for the tour to go ahead. This decision is subject to several critical conditions being met before we travel.


“We look forward to the ongoing assistance from Cricket Australia in resolving these matters in the coming days.”

England will name an Ashes squad in the coming days.

Australia has some of the strictest Covid-19 protocols in the world, a situation complicated by the fact the five Tests are due to be played in five states, each of which have their own regulations.

Cricket Australia sent plans for the Ashes tour to the ECB in late September, with England’s players presented with the arrangements on Sunday and the ECB holding a board meeting on Friday.

Australia hold the Ashes after retaining them thanks to a 2-2 draw in England in 2019.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

The can has been kicked down the road, but at least it appears to be in the right direction.

The board is not prepared to clarify exactly what these critical conditions are, and will now go about the process of selecting what will be a large squad. But it’s not at all clear how that can happen before the players are satisfied that these critical conditions will be met by the Australian authorities.

Inevitably one assumes that much of this focuses on the quarantine arrangements of the players and also their families and that, eventually, an agreement will be reached. But the clock is ticking.

How it all unfolded

July: England players hold talks over plans for families to travel to Australia.
22 Aug: England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler says he is “open to saying no” to taking part in the Ashes tour.
28 Aug: The Times reports that up to 10 England players could pull out of the tour because of quarantine conditions.
19 Sept: England pace bowler Stuart Broad says he is “happy to get on a plane to Australia”.
23 Sept: Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there will be “no special deals” for England players’ families.
28 Sept: England captain Joe Root says he is “desperate” to play in Ashes but does not confirm he will travel.
3 Oct: England players presented with proposed travel arrangements and conditions.
8 Oct: Australia captain Tim Paine says he expects a “really strong” England to tour.

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