Amidst the speculations of several key England players pulling out of the Ashes, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cleared that no travel exemptions will be given to families of English cricketers during the upcoming Test series in December-January, as per a report in Guerilla Cricket. Due to the COVID-19 protocols in Australia, several ace England players are mulling over skipping the marque series. While England Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) were hopeful of getting some relaxations for the players and their families, the statement from Australian PM is a huge setback for both ECB and CA.
Morris stressed that 80% of the Australian population need to get vaccinated before he eases the restrictions. It’s unlikely that Australia will touch the 80% mark by December given that only 50% of the total population has been vaccinated till now.
As many as 10 England players may skip the Ashes if the COVID-19 protocols are not eased out. Many players including Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Works also pulled out of the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to the same. However, they will be part of the England squad for the T20 World Cup and if they play the Ashes as well, they’ll be in the bubble for over 4 months which they’re not willing to do. And assuming they may have opted to compromise on the COVID-19 restrictions, the recent statement of not allowing the families of England players from the Australian PM would have given them more than one reason to turn away from the series.
Already England are without Ben Stokes, who’s taken an indefinite break from cricket and Jofra Archer, who’s struggling with an elbow injury, and if other big players also pull out, it will be a massive blow to the series.
While several England may not be part of the Ashes, veteran pacer James Anderson has confirmed his availability. Anderson said he plays just one form of the game thus he doesn’t have any issues in travelling to Australia