Australia vs England, Test schedule, quarantine rules, Covid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, will series go ahead, dates, video

Cricket might be the sound of summer, but alarm bells are proving deafening as the Ashes fast approaches.

Kevin Pietersen was a maverick during his playing days and the former dashing batsman continues to play shots that reverberate across the world despite not playing international cricket in years.

His latest shot, which comes days after former teammate and Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan pleaded for the negativity end, a tweet fired off surrounding this summer’s fast approaching Ashes series, which will plough on amid the Covid gloom.

“There is NO WAY I would go to The Ashes this winter,” Pietersen wrote. “ZERO chance!

“Unless, the ridiculous quarantine rules were squashed and my family could travel with zero restrictions. Players are now done with bubbles! DONE!!!!!!!”

NEW PODCAST! How Australia retained the Ashes in 2019 in England and the mental and physical turmoil Nathan Lyon endured in that series

Ben Stokes – arguably the world’s finest all-rounder – is in major doubt to tour Down Under for mental health reasons, while others have also expressed reservations particularly with the subject of families travelling with the touring party far from sorted.

Less than a week ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson broached the subject with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, who said “no special deals” would be made.

The Australian PM, though, added, he wanted the series to go ahead.

Equally, opening bowler Stuart Broad says he is “100 per cent” committed to touring if selected.

Yet, even the England captain Joe Root understands the reservations around touring at present.

“I feel it’s so hard to make a definite decision until you know,” Root said on Tuesday. “It’s a little bit frustrating but it’s where we are at.

“From a player’s point of view we just want to know what the position is and then we can make decisions.”

“I’m desperate to be part of an Ashes series. I always am,” he added. “It’s that one series as an England player that you want to be involved in and that will never change.

“The position I’m at in my career, it could be the last opportunity I get to go, so of course it’s something you’re desperate to do, desperate to hopefully make history over there and be part of something very special.”

Watch Live Coverage of the 21/22 Marsh One-Day Cup Live & Free on Kayo Freebies. No Credit Card. No Brainer. Join Now

Kevin Pietersen celebrating Ashes win aboard England cricket team bus during victory parade in London 13 Sep 2005.Source: AP

One person who will not is Moeen Ali, with the all-rounder, whose off-break bowling would have been useful in Australia, suddenly retiring from Test cricket.

The former England captain’s comments come as the Covid circus continues in Australia.

On Tuesday, Cricket Australia postponed Tasmania’s Shield match against Queensland, robbing both sides of precious red ball cricket, after a Covid outbreak in Brisbane.

England’s Moeen Ali has retired from Test cricket. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

The recent outbreak comes with the entire summer of cricket, including a historic Test against Afghanistan, the Big Bash and, of course, the Ashes entrenched in doubt.

Perth might be one of the few cities which hasn’t experienced a mass outbreak, but their chances of hosting the fifth Test are up in the air because of the hard-line border closure stance.

THE ASHES SCHEDULE

The first match between Australia and England is scheduled to begin on December 8th at The Gabba in Brisbane.

From there the sides will meet in Adelaide, before moving to Melbourne for the annual Boxing Day Test and Sydney for the New Year’s Test.

The series will wrap up in Perth, with the final match beginning on January 14th.

Warne talks through Ashes quarantine | 00:56

WILL THE SERIES GO AHEAD?

From Cricket Australia to the PM, the Ashes will proceed.

The governing body last year managed to bring the entire Indian squad to Australia, have them quarantine, and the series — regarded as one of the best on Aussie shores in a long time — went off without a hitch.

CA believes they can achieve the same successful outcome, telling the ABC in a statement last week they were “supremely confident that the full contingent will come and will play the full five Tests”.

Whether the Test schedule remains in its current form remains to be seen, however, with Cricket Western Australia worried they will lose yet another fixture given Premier Mark McGowan’s border closures to states with locally transmitted Covid cases.

WA, who are scheduled to host the Ashes finale following the traditional Boxing Day and New Year’s Tests, requires states to have had 28 days without any community transmission of COVID-19 before waiving the quarantine requirement.

READ MORE


Root ‘desperate’ to play in Ashes but won’t commit yet, as captain drops big hint on future

England’s Ashes campaign dealt another blow as Moeen Ali set to announce shock retirement

It means, WA will likely have to host one of the opening two Tests — listed for Brisbane and Adelaide — to host a match.

“We know it is under real threat,” CWA boss Christina Matthews told The West Australian. “We would love to be in the first three Tests and the Boxing Day Test is one of those. If that could come to Perth it would be brilliant. It would be like the AFL grand final. But our endeavour is to try and get the game moved somewhere in the first three Tests.”

Every ball of Bumrah’s EPIC 6 over spell | 03:19

While Sydney and Melbourne are experiencing mass Covid outbreaks, vaccination rates continue to soar and both state premiers have revealed road maps out of the pandemic and back to normality. The news means both cities are expected to host their traditional Tests, with fans likely to have to show Covid passports to attend.

But just last month, Vaughan told The Back Page England would make their way Down Under but admitted one or two players might not make the journey.

“Look, the Ashes will happen,” Vaughan told Fox Sports’ The Back Page. “I have no doubt about that. Whether it’s with a full-strength English side, I’m not too sure. There may be one or two players that are a part of all formats that might drop out and I’d understand that, that’s just the nature of the beast at these times.”

Will England send a full strength team? | 00:54

WHO WILL ENGLAND SEND?

The sudden retirement of first-choice all-rounder Ali has seen one door shut and another open for a new spinner to enter the frame.

While the three-format player was expected to be picked, his retirement means England may have to pick a front-line spinner.

The bits-and-pieces option many touring parties have opted for on hard Australian decks has rarely been effective Down Under.

Stokes’ availability is also in major doubt, with the all-rounder’s mental health the major concern.

Wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, who is familiar to Australia audiences after his time in the Big Bash, is another who is tossing up whether to tour.

READ MORE

Ashes receives major boost as CA proposes ‘better than expected’ tour conditions

‘No special deals’: PM won’t budge on Johnson’s ‘Christmas’ plea, but Morrison wants Ashes to go ahead

2001 Ashes century maker Mark Butcher has hit out at the current squad, who aren’t fulled behind an away series to Australia.Source: News Limited

Buttler, whose wife has just given birth to their second child, is one of several England stars who have threatened to pull out of the tour unless a compromise on 14-day quarantine rules imposed for families is met.

“Covid is challenging for everyone and Australia has had a very strict policy in how they are dealing with it,” he said.

“And an added complication is how long we’ve been living in bio-secure bubbles. Even playing cricket in England is almost like being on tour.

“I’ve sacrificed a lot for cricket and my wife and family have sacrificed a lot. You have to be open to saying no.”

The stance hasn’t pleased everyone with former top-order batter Mark Butcher turned pundit saying touring is part of their job.

“I’m slightly furious about the idea that players are thinking about not going on an Ashes tour because they’re worried about the quarantine requirements for their wives and kids,” he said.

“Now, wives and kids going on trips in my time was very much a privilege, it wasn’t expected.

“I know times have changed a lot but given that everybody is having to make various sacrifices, lots of sacrifices, lots of things are different because of Covid-19.

“This is a one-off Ashes trip. Chances are, the next time it comes around, four years’ time, every thing will be relatively back to normal and you’ll have your families there for Christmas and all the rest of it.

“But this is your job. This is how you earn your money.”

Vaughan ‘guarantees’ Ashes will go ahead | 01:27

Vaughan agreed, saying as Ashes series was like a Super Bowl and veteran quick James Anderson deserved a playing group to give him a fitting send-off.

“We hear players say Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and the Ashes in Australia is the ultimate challenge. This week I would like to hear them prove it by committing to the tour to Australia,” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.

Vaughan encouraged Root to make a statement, encouraging everyone of his players to follow him. Root’s diplomatic, sympathetic comments on Tuesday aren’t exactly that.

“I think it’s really important everyone makes a decision that they’re comfortable with. There’s so many different factors that fall into it and hopefully we’re in a position where it’s not an issue.”

Nor will England have fast bowler Jofra Archer, with the tall right-arm quick recently undergoing surgery.

His absence is a massive blow, with Vaughan saying the absence of the 26-year-old, who felled Steve Smith during the 2019 Ashes at Lord’s, a killer blow.

“Whichever team arrive in Australia – and their will be a team that comes to Australia – it’s not going to be easy for the English team,” the drought-breaking 2005 Ashes-winning skipper said.

McGrath back Smith as Paine replacment | 01:13

WHAT WILL ENGLAND EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY ARRIVE ON AUSSIE SHORES

Far from being locked up, England’s players will likely be treated to a resort-style quarantine period in Australia.

The full terms and conditions have yet to be shared with the entire playing group, but according to Sportsmail the guidelines are “better than expected”.

The Ashes protocols passed from CA to the ECB last week and Queensland will be the arrival point for the touring England team in two groups either side of the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE.

England’s Ben Stokes celebrates hitting the winning runs on the fourth day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley, but the all-rounder might not travel to Australia. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

England’s players and staff are set to be granted resort-style quarantine in Queensland, with freedom of movement within the resort compound and the ability to train under supervision for a few hours a day during their first 14 days in Australia.

Partners and families who arrive with either of the two touring groups will also be able to quarantine in resort-style accommodation.

It is believed England’s players, staff and families, should they be permitted to join, will be able to dine at cafes and exercise once they have completed their quarantine period.

WHO ARE THE STARS

Well, Joe Root.

But beyond him, England will be desperate Stokes joins him on the tour Down Under.

The England captain hasn’t always set the world alight down in Australia, but the right-hander is back to his best after a magnificent home summer which came after meaningful tours of Sri Lanka and India.

England CRUMBLE on day five again! | 03:03

But as Vaughan says, England’s batting lineup is very Root-heavy and the top three remains far from settled.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think he’s the chef and the bus driver, he does everything for the England side,” Vaughan said on Root. “He’s an amazing captain.

“They don’t have the pace, they don’t have the mystery and they don’t have at the minute, apart from Joe Root, they don’t have the batters that can bat a long period of time.”

Elsewhere, James Anderson will prove a nightmare in Adelaide against the pink ball.

Test rookie Ollie Robinson enjoyed a strong home summer, while Chris Woakes and Craig Overton will keep the Australian betters honest.

THE REST OF THE SUMMER

While the Ashes is the main course, there’s a lot more action to take place.

A historic Test against Afghanistan November is up in the air too.

CA has stated that the Test will be cancelled if Afghanistan’s new Taliban regime rule out women playing cricket — as a spokesman for the Taliban recently suggested. It is a condition that any international team given membership to the International Cricket Council (ICC) must have a women’s side.

“We haven’t received any official statement yet that indicates cricket is banned for women,” Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Azizullah Fazli recently said, leaving hope the match will proceed.

Cricket Australia to scrap test? | 00:40

SHIELD AND BIG BASH IN LIMBO

The Sheffield Shield season is up and running. Well, kind of.

Only four of the six teams had matches set in stone when the domestic calendar was revealed recently, with New South Wales and Victoria waiting for the green light following the Covid outbreaks.

Now, Queensland has been plunged into the chaos following the Brisbane outbreak which has seen Tasmania return home quickly.

While the Big Bash could be played in states who have more lenient borders, the Shield is at far greater risk given the lack of commercial outcome from broadcast money and ticket-gates.

It leaves Australia’s Ashes defence at risk, with fringe players, particularly those fighting for spots in the top six, at risk of not being able to mount an Ashes defence.

Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns, Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski are four players who particularly are at risk.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *