The England Cricket Board is still yet to confirm whether they will travel to Australia for the 2021/2022 Ashes series this winter due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions still in place.
The fate of this series is unfortunately still hanging in the balance and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are having continuous talks with Cricket Australia (CA) and Players’ Cricket Association (PCA) to try and ensure the Ashes can take place with favourable circumstances for both the Australia and England team.
Over the past few days, the ECB, PCA and CA have had mixed results in their discussions. However, after meetings held on Tuesday 5 October 2021, reports are becoming increasingly more positive with the likely outcome being that the historic series will go ahead.
What is the current situation in Australia?
Australia still has some of the hardest Covid-19 restrictions in the world, made even more complicated by the fact that certain states have different regulations. It is very likely that if the series were to go ahead the Perth test would have to be moved to a different state. The state of Western Australia is still in a state of Emergency and has restricted access into and out of the region.
One of the main concerns for the England squad is whether their families would be allowed out for the Christmas and New Year period.
It is improbable that the Australian Government would allow full exemptions for all families to travel. Even if the Government did allow this, families would still likely face a two week quarantining period.
What has England said?
The ECB said in a statement that they remain in “regular and positive” dialogue with CA.
“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.”
While previously stating concerns relating to ‘Bubble Fatigue’, test Captain Joe Root has said he is committed to making the tour happen and is confident the discussions will lead to a successful and safe Ashes 2021/22 campaign.
England wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler has already announced that while he expects the tour to go ahead, he will not commit himself to playing until he is made fully aware of any Covid restrictions that would impact him or his family.
What has Australia said?
The Ashes usually pours about £106.8 million in CA so consequently Australia have looked to be as lenient as possible.
The results of the most recent discussions surrounding the Ashes have given reason to believe that while a Bubble is still very much on the cards for the squads, the players will not be confined to just their rooms and would be given more freedom within their hotel.
During a press conference following the talks on Tuesday, Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has stated that the Australian Government has been “flexible” and “practical” but ultimately the fate of the series lies in England’s hands.
When will a final decision be made?
Discussions between the ECB, CA and PCA will continue on Friday 8 October with a final decision expected to be made following the talks.
When would the Ashes 2021/2022 take place?
- First Test : 8 December - 12 December 2021, The Gabba, Brisbane
- Second Test : 16 December - 20 December 2021, Adelaide Oval
- Third Test : 26 December - 30 December 2021, Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Fourth Test : 5 January - 9 January 2022, Sydney Cricket Ground
- Fifth Test : 14 January - 18 January 2022, Perth Stadium
The last Ashes series was played in England in 2019 and ended with Australia retaining the Ashes having drawn the series 2-2.
England does not have a strong success rate when playing the Ashes in Australia having won only one series since 1987.
The last series played down under was a complete whitewash and England have only won four test matches against Australia in Australia since 2000.
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