The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is skeptical about the team’s Ashes tour due to Australia’s strict Covid-19 quarantine protocols, chairman Ian Watmore has said.

England players have warned the Australian Board to pull out of the tour unless they get assurances that their family members will be allowed to join them in Australia during the series.

In an interview, Watmore said, “There is no simple date, it must be decided by, apart from when that plane goes to Australia.”

He added, “Joe [Root] and the players not involved in the [Twenty20] World Cup will be leaving in the first week of November so we have until then to change things.”

“We are trying to build up a picture, either confident or less confident, of the conditions. There are issues to sort out with Cricket Australia; there are issues for CA to sort out with their government and for the federal government to sort out with state governments. It is a complicated picture.”

Watmore said that the players were eager to travel considering the importance of the Ashes rivalry.

The chairman said, “CA knows what we need to make the tour successful and they’re working to deliver it. We need to see the detail, check it out with the players and management and either push back or commit.”

He added, “It’s not a red-line type of discussion, but we’re working hard to provide an environment in which our players and their families want to go and perform to their best,” adding, “If Australia can deliver that, great, if not we may have to have more challenging discussions.” 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also made his attempts to resolve the issue. Johnson said that he had asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to assist the English team by easing the strict quarantine rules when they had met in Washington last week.

Australia plans to ease border and quarantine restrictions by the end of 2021 when at least 80 percent of adults are expected to have received two vaccine jabs but some individual states might keep the rules strict.


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