Ashes tour set to get green light after Joe Root commits following talks with Cricket Australia boss

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Joe Root is said to have been convinced  (PA)
Joe Root is said to have been convinced (PA)

The Ashes is set to get the official green light by the end of the week with England planning to take a near full-strength squad to Australia this winter.

Captain Joe Root was among those to raise doubts about touring with uncertainty about the Covid protocols but, after a second briefing with Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley last night, he has now committed to leading his side Down Under.

The majority of England’s players are believed to have signed up to the tour although there are believed to be some within the expected party – Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood – who are still wavering about whether to make the trip.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will meet again on Thursday to discuss the latest machinations around Ashes tour with an official announcement expected to be made to rubber stamp it before the end of the week.

Doubts had previously been raised over the Ashes with Buttler and Root among those wary about the lack of assurances after lengthy spells in various Covid-playing bubbles.

And the ECB effectively warned their Australian counterparts at the start of the week that they would not sign off on sending a star-studded squad unless their players’ wellbeing could be guaranteed.

While the series never looked entirely at risk of not going ahead, Root now appears to have been given the reassurances he required regarding the necessary protocols for the tourists and pave the way for a full-strength touring party to follow suit.

Todd Greenberg, chief executive of the Australian Cricketers Association, has been working closely with Cricket Australia to allay any concerns ahead of the Test series, which begins on December 8.

And Greenberg told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald: “For the England players, they needed some level of surety from us that what’s happened in the previous three months is probably not indicative of what might happen in the next three.

“We’ve talked to them about that, we’ve talked to them about the vaccination rates, about planning with governments. The long and short of it, for me, is the England players have handled themselves really well, they’ve asked the right questions, they’ve been really professional in the way they’ve dealt with that and all credit to them.

“The reason why we’ve all got much more confidence than maybe we had this time last year is the level of vaccination rates across the country. That gives you a huge amount of confidence that the plans we’ve got now will be executed and we will be able to come through on the promises we’ve made.

“They’re going to get a good result here because the conditions they’ll tour in will be fantastic and we’ll have a great Ashes summer.”

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