The England and Wales Cricket Board has given “conditional approval” for the Ashes tour to Australia to go ahead this summer.
- England is expected to name its touring squad for the Ashes this weekend after receiving conditional approval from the ECB
- English players and families will likely undergo two weeks of quarantine at a Gold Coast resort upon arrival
- The first Test is scheduled to be played in Brisbane on December 8
The tour has been the subject of drawn-out negotiations between Cricket Australia and the ECB, with the English players upset over the prospect of hard quarantine due to Australia’s international and internal border restrictions.
Overnight, the ECB released a short statement detailing its stance on the tour.
“Over recent weeks we have made excellent progress in moving forward on the England Men’s Ashes Tour,” the 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.”
A spokesperson for Cricket Australia said “everything coming out of the UK yesterday was extremely positive”.
They said the “critical conditions” related to biosecurity issues and obtaining visas for the touring party and that more conversations would be held with the ECB over the weekend.
“The main thing is that these people have to get into the country,” the spokesperson said.
The five-Test Ashes series is due to begin in December.
The tour had been in doubt with several English players, including captain Joe Root, expressing frustration at the number of isolation quarantines and bubbles the side has endured over the past 18 months as well as the possibility that families of the team would have to undergo hard quarantine.
Cricket Australia has recently promised the ECB that the players would undergo a two-week quarantine in 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 arrive later have been promised the ability to quarantine in a similar way.
It is expected that the ECB will name the touring party this weekend.
That squad likely won’t include star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been battling a finger injury and mental health issues.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer will also miss the tour because of an elbow injury, while spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali recently retired from Test cricket citing his exhaustion with quarantine and isolation bubbles.
England’s Test specialists will arrive in November, while other members of the touring party who are due to play in the T20 World Cup in the Middle East will arrive later, along with Australian T20 players such as Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc.
Those players left this week for the World Cup.
Other potential Australian Test players are playing Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia, but the situation has been made difficult for players in NSW and Victoria who have been stuck in their states because of the COVID outbreaks.
NSW and Victoria are due to 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 will be played in Brisbane, followed by Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth — though that Perth Test is in doubt due to Western Australia’s hard border.
Cricket Australia has said it won’t countenance the players doing a two-week quarantine if the hard border remains in place, meaning the Test would be moved to another venue.
Cricket Tasmania chief executive Dominic Baker has said Hobart would be “ready and willing” to take over that Test should Perth no longer be a viable option.