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England captain Joe Root says his squad are waiting for “more information” from Australian authorities before each individual decides whether he will travel Down Under for the Ashes, and admits there is “still a lot to consider”.
As many as 10 England players – many of them senior figures, with young families – are weighing up whether they want to travel to Australia for a series that is highly unlikely to be postponed.
England players have spent much of the past 16 months in biosecure bubbles playing a relentless schedule, meaning some may decide the demands of travelling to Australia during the Covid pandemic are too great.
While it is expected that players’ families will be invited to travel, quarantine rules may make it impossible for school-age children to come in the holidays, putting players off spending months away from their families, especially over the festive period.
Jos Buttler, who is missing the Fourth Test against India for the birth of his second child, has already raised doubts about travelling, and is far from alone.
“They are conversations we will have with the ECB,” said Root. “One thing we are waiting on is a little bit more information. Until we get that from Cricket Australia and their government, we just have to concentrate on this series and make sure that doesn’t become a distraction.
“I think it’s really important we keep talking about it as a squad, and a team, working closely with the ECB. There is still a lot to consider. We will keep trying to do everything we can to keep good communication through the right channel.”
Asked if the ongoing conversations were a distraction he could do without during a major series against India, Root said: “There’s a few things we could do without right now!
“But that’s part and parcel of things and how they are at the moment. You have to just take it in your stride as a team. Sometimes things like this can bring you closer as a group and create a strong bond, and hopefully we can manage that in the right way and use it as an advantage.”