Cricket Australia rejects ECB’s request to shift Ashes opener to Sydney, says reports

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) request to shift the first Ashes Test from Brisbane to Sydney has been rejected by Cricket Australia (CA) as the move “could lead to added complications” and could also jeopardise the five-match series.

The Joe Root-led England side are scheduled to travel to Australia for Ashes series, which will begin on December 8 at The Gabba in Brisbane.

As per reports, the ECB had requested the CA to shift the series’ opener to Sydney from Brisbane as it would have enabled the touring England cricketers avoid the Queensland’s 14-days mandatory quarantine.

Sydney, which is in New South Wales, “will become the first Australian state to permit fully vaccinated travellers from next month with no quarantine for those testing negative for Covid-19, leading the ECB to explore the possibility of starting in Sydney — a proposal that had the enthusiastic backing of the players,” said in a report on Wednesday.

“During talks with Cricket Australia however, it was concluded that the change could lead to added complications with fears over the tourists getting stuck in New South Wales due to other states’ strict border controls without having undergone quarantine — a prospect that could derail the entire tour,” the report added.

With the request being rejected, the Ashes will now kick-off as scheduled at The Gabba in Brisbane on December 8 befor moving to Adelaide, Melbourne and the Sydney respectively.

Althought the fifth and final Test is scheduled to be held at Perth however, the strict 14-day quarantine protocols in Western Australia could force the CA to relocate the match to Sydney.

Recently, CA Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley had said that despite the pandemic restrictions in his country, he would “want to play the schedule as planned” and hinted that the fifth and final Test of the upcoming Ashes series will be held at Perth from January 14 as it has been scheduled.

Earlier, several media reports from Australia had claimed that the fifth Test could be shifted to Sydney from Perth as Western Australia still countinues to grapple under the Covid-19 pandemic and their vaccine programme lags behind other states.

In September, Sports Minister Richard Colbeck had hinted that Perth might not be able to host an Ashes test due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Colbeck felt that as Western Australia (WA) has strict quarantine rules, the players would not want to serve quarantine for 14 days.

“We’ve had to do a lot of work to organise quarantine arrangements for cricketers coming into Australia,” Colbeck was quoted as saying by Perth radio station 6PR.

“There’s serious questions about whether there’ll be a test match in Perth this summer. If there’s no chance of coming here without prolonged quarantine, it just won’t occur,” he had added.

The five-match series, which is scheduled to start from December 8 in Brisbane, will end on January 18, 2022.

News Desk

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