Monday 4 October 2021 11:16 am

England cricket chiefs set to make decision on Ashes participation

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) plans to decide this week whether to send a team to Australia for the men’s Ashes this winter.

The series is in doubt because of Australia’s strict Covid-19 protocols, although talks are continuing between both countries.

A major sticking point has been whether players’ families can accompany them, with some England regulars believed to be reluctant to spend months abroad in bubble conditions without them.

“Over the weekend we have been talking to England men’s players and management to provide them with the latest information about the proposed arrangements for this winter’s scheduled Ashes tour,” said the ECB.

“We remain in regular and positive dialogue with Cricket Australia over these arrangements as the picture is constantly evolving.

“With health and wellbeing at the forefront, our focus is to ensure the tour can go ahead with conditions for players and management to perform at their best.

“We will continue talking to our players this week to share the latest information and seek feedback.

“Later this week the ECB Board will meet to decide whether the conditions in place are sufficient for the tour to go ahead and enable the selection of a squad befitting a series of this significance.”

England captain Joe Root said last week that it was difficult to decide on participation “until we know what it looks like”.

Australia captain Tim Paine shot back that the Ashes would go ahead on 8 December “whether Joe is here or not”.

The Aussies have not played an away Test match since summer 2019, when they retained the urn against England with a 2-2 draw.

Australia’s sports minister warned last week that the fifth Test in Perth is currently not viable due to state rules requiring visitors to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.