Australia ‘flexible & practical’ for Ashes, says Minister

The Australian government has been “flexible and practical” to ensure the upcoming Ashes series can be held as scheduled however, the fate of the tour lies in England’s hands, health minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had said that it will decide later this week whether the proposed arrangements in Australia are sufficient for the Ashes tour to go ahead or not.

Hunt said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Sports Minister Richard Colbeck had been working with their British counterparts to begin the series as per schedule.

Notably, the Ashes is due to begin on December 8 in Brisbane.

“Ultimately, it’s always in the hands of the touring party, but we’ve been working to be flexible and practical,” Hunt told Sky News Australia on Tuesday.

“On the one hand, make sure that we have safety arrangements for Australia. On the other hand, to be practical and flexible to give that touring party every chance of coming here and to have the Ashes played this summer.”

As per reports, the Ashes is expected to bring a revenue of around $145.68 million to Cricket Australia (CA) through broadcast, sponsorship and ticketing.

Meanwhile, the CA has laos been induldged in talks with the ECB to hand them clarity about the five-match series.

“We have had regular and positive discussions with the ECB over the past six months on providing conditions which will allow players from both teams to perform at their best during the Ashes summer,” CA said in a statement.

“The health and wellbeing of both squads while ensuring the tour proceeds in a safe manner is a priority and we especially thank our government partners for all their support in this regard,” it added.

“We are also buoyed by rising vaccination rates and an evolving approach to the pandemic in Australia,” CA added.

ECB) have released a statement on the Ashes tour, saying that they will make a decision over ‘whether the conditions in place are sufficient for the tour to go ahead’ later this week.

Notably, the upcoming Ashes tour to Australia has been in doubt due to the quarantine issues and uncertainty on whether the England players’ could accompany their families with them or not during the long tour, featuring five Tests.

“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,” the ECB said on Monday.

“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,” it added.

The series is scheduled to start from December 8 and end on January 18.

Recently, England captain Joe Root had said he was desperate to be part of the tour however, did not confirm his participation.

Last month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on behalf of his country’s cricketers, had pleaded with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Washington DC last month for the families to be allowed to travel to Australia.

Earlier, several England cricketers had expressed their displeasure over the tough quarantine rules in Australia.

Along with Root some of the other England members had earlier cited Australia’s strict quarantine and travel protocols as the major reasons for their reluctance to tour Australia following which the respective boards of the two teams have induldged in dialogue.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, Australia have put some strict rules under place for people arriving from abroad and there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine even if the person is fully vaccinated which means England team’s family members may not be allowed to travel with them.

Notably, not being with their families during the long tour has been a major deterrent for many England’s players.

News Desk

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