England’s cricketers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the ECB over the lack of information they have been given ahead of this winter’s scheduled Ashes tour of Australia, with some players reportedly unwilling to travel without their families.
Captain Joe Root and several other senior players have been asking their board for updates on travel itinerary, hotel details and whether they will be allowed to bring their families, but so far have not been provided with any of the key details, according to the Daily Mail.
England are due to head to Australia for five Test matches starting in Brisbane on December 8 and finishing off at Perth’s Optus Stadium between January 14-18.
But due to strict covid-19 guidelines Down Under, there is concern from the England camp that they would not be able to take their families for what is notoriously a gruelling tour.
The players have reportedly been asked to discuss between themselves whether they would fly to Australia, but have asked for assurances over restrictions before they make the final decision.
Wicketkeeper and vice captain Jos Buttler has hinted on several occasions that he would not tour if his wife and new born daughter could not accompany him.
‘One of the challenges is working out where the line is where you say I can’t do that. I’ve sacrificed a lot for cricket and my wife and family have sacrificed a lot,’ he said.
‘You have to be open to saying no. It would be incredibly disappointing if some players feel like they can’t do it, but we’re in a world at the moment where that is a possibility.’
Root is reportedly also concerned about heading into an Ashes series with a depleted squad should several key players decide to withdraw. Seamers Jofra Archer and Olly Stone have already been ruled out due to injury, while Ben Stokes is also a doubt as he continues to take a break from the sport.
Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne has admitted that he’s hopeful of coming up against a full-strength England this winter, but admits that player welfare must come first.
‘The welfare of players and making sure families can come out here is important. You don’t need to be a cricketer to recognise the importance of making sure the mental health of all players is in a good space,’ he told Cricket.com.au earlier this month.
‘Especially with a T20 World Cup followed by an Ashes, it’s a really long four or five months. But I have no doubt, between the government and Cricket Australia, we’ll be able to sort it out and get ourselves in a position where we can have a full-strength England against a full-strength Australia.
‘Everyone out here wants to see Jimmy [Anderson] come to Australia.’
The ECB remain in the dark over the final tour programme and have asked their Australian counterparts to confirm the schedule in the coming weeks in order for them to pick their playing squad.
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