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England remain in Ashes talks with family restrictions still a concern

The Ashes is due to begin in December but it is still unclear whether England will travel; a number of players have concerns over quarantine and bubble and entry restrictions for them and their families; England players and staff met virtually with Cricket Australia in last 24 hours

Last Updated: 05/10/21 1:39pm

England's players and staff met virtually with Cricket Australia in the past 24 hours

England’s players and staff met virtually with Cricket Australia in the past 24 hours

England’s players and staff have held further video meetings with Cricket Australia over the past 24 hours as the fate of this winter’s Ashes tour hangs in the balance.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Monday it would decide this week whether the proposed arrangements in Australia are sufficient for the Ashes tour to go ahead.

England’s cricketers are still awaiting details of quarantine, bubble and entry restrictions and several players – including captain Joe Root and vice-captain Jos Buttler – have expressed doubts about the tour.

Is it understood that following the most recent talks, quarantine restrictions for the families of England’s players and staff remain a concern.

Earlier on Tuesday, Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt said his government had been “flexible and practical” to ensure the Ashes can go ahead but the fate of the series lies in England’s hands.

Hunt said Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and sports minister Richard Colbeck had been working with their British counterparts to deliver the series, which starts on December 8 in Brisbane.

“Ultimately it’s always in the hands of the touring party but we’ve been working to be flexible and practical,” Hunt told Sky News Australia on Tuesday.

England vice-captain Jos Buttler believes the Ashes will go ahead in Australia this winter but will not commit to taking part until he knows how the tour will be impacted by Covid restrictions

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England vice-captain Jos Buttler believes the Ashes will go ahead in Australia this winter but will not commit to taking part until he knows how the tour will be impacted by Covid restrictions

England vice-captain Jos Buttler believes the Ashes will go ahead in Australia this winter but will not commit to taking part until he knows how the tour will be impacted by Covid restrictions

“On the one hand, make sure that we have safety arrangements for Australia. On the other hand, to be practical and flexible to give that touring party every chance of coming here and to have the Ashes played this summer.”

The five-Test series pours about A$200m (£106.8m) into Cricket Australia (CA) coffers through broadcast, sponsorship and ticketing, local media have reported.

CA has been negotiating with authorities and the ECB over travel conditions and whether players’ families can visit during the Christmas and New Year period.

“We have had regular and positive discussions with the ECB over the past six months on providing conditions which will allow players from both teams to perform at their best during the Ashes summer,” CA said in a statement.

“The health and wellbeing of both squads, while ensuring the tour proceeds in a safe manner, is a priority and we especially thank our government partners for all their support in this regard.”

Michael Atherton said last week he expects the Ashes to go ahead this year despite doubts around the series in Australia due to Covid-19 restrictions

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Michael Atherton said last week he expects the Ashes to go ahead this year despite doubts around the series in Australia due to Covid-19 restrictions

Michael Atherton said last week he expects the Ashes to go ahead this year despite doubts around the series in Australia due to Covid-19 restrictions

Australia has strict limits on international arrivals and charges people thousands of dollars to isolate in designated quarantine hotels for a mandatory 14 days, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Morrison said last week authorities would lift travel curbs and allow fully vaccinated people to quarantine at home for shorter periods from next month when the proportion of adults who have had two vaccine shots is expected to reach 80 per cent.

International tourists are not expected to be able to travel to Australia until next year, however.

“We are also buoyed by rising vaccination rates and an evolving approach to the pandemic in Australia,” CA added.

In a statement on Monday, the ECB said it remained in “positive dialogue” with CA but said the Ashes would only go ahead if it could select an England squad “befitting a series of this significance”.

Sky Sports News reporter James Cole said on Monday England's cricketers will talk to the ECB this week to decide whether the Ashes tour of Australia will go ahead

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Sky Sports News reporter James Cole said on Monday England’s cricketers will talk to the ECB this week to decide whether the Ashes tour of Australia will go ahead

Sky Sports News reporter James Cole said on Monday England’s cricketers will talk to the ECB this week to decide whether the Ashes tour of Australia will go ahead

“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,” said the ECB.

“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.”

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