Top England players may skip Ashes over strict quarantine rules in Australia

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Strict Covid-19 protocols can weaken the competitiveness of the Ashes series Down Under.
Strict Covid-19 protocols can weaken the competitiveness of the Ashes series Down Under.

Strict quarantine rules in Australia may take some sheen out of the upcoming Ashes series. It is feared that many English player can opt out of the Ashes to avoid the hard quarantine protocols Down Under.

Up to 10 England players can reportedly pull out of the Ashes tour of Australia if the travel and quarantine are not relaxed. Players also want the relaxations to be extended to their families.

An agreement between the Cricket Australia and the authorities across the States scheduled to host the Ashes, however, can salvage the situation.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, unhappy with Cricket Australia’s (CA) lack of progress on this front, many English players are considering pulling out if their demands are not met.

At a meeting of the England squad at Headingley this week, it is understood there was mounting frustration about a lack of progress by CA over quarantine rules, the daily reported.

Australia has some of the strictest COVID-19 quarantine regulations in place and its own cricketers are currently serving two weeks in an Adelaide hotel after returning from a white-ball tour of West Indies and Bangladesh.

The Australian players are also not allowed to train at the moment.

It is understood that CA doesn’t have enough influence over the government there and even individual states can impose a ban or shut the city entirely on quick notice, disturbing all the agreements made before the players left the UK.

CA said on Saturday it was working closely with government and health officials in its quest to find a solution.

“Cricket Australia continues to work closely with the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and government authorities in Australia regarding the upcoming Ashes series, which will be the centrepiece for one of the biggest summers of cricket on record,” a CA statement read.

“We are currently planning the operational requirements of this tour and working with the ECB on the proposed make-up of the England touring party.

“As was the case last season, CA will work constructively and in partnership with government to deliver the summer of cricket, while ensuring the health, wellbeing and safety of the community,” the statement added.

The five-Test Ashes series is slated to be held from December 8 to January 18.