Ashes: England tour of Australia to go ahead ‘subject to conditions’

Joe Root and Tim Paine
England, led by Joe Root (left), lost 4-0 on their most recent tour of Australia in 2017-18

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.

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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