• Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 06:23 pm

Old Trafford cancellation adds to Ashes uncertainty

  • Published at 07:44 pm September 12th, 2021
Ashes

Several England cricketers have already expressed worries about the current situation in Australia

The dramatic last-minute cancellation of the deciding fifth Test at Old Trafford has heightened the tension already surrounding the upcoming Ashes series, although English cricket's top administrator still believes postponement is "probably not where we are going to end up".

But with India having abandoned the fifth Test against England before a ball was bowled in Manchester because of Covid-19 fears arising in a more relaxed 'managed' environment, after officials deemed last year's strict biosecure bubbles to be an unsustainable imposition on players in the long-term, the Ashes could yet be played under tighter restrictions.

Several England cricketers have already expressed worries about the current situation in Australia, where arrivals are subject to lengthy quarantine, amid fears their wives, girlfriends and families may not be allowed to join them, as would normally be the case, at some stage during the five-match Ashes series. 

It was not until just over two hours before Friday's scheduled start that the fifth Test was called off due to Covid-19 concerns within the India camp -- a move that left English cricket facing a financial 'black hole' estimated at £40 million ($55 million). 

Reports that Yogesh Parmar, a physiotherapist in close contact with the players had tested positive for Covid appeared to be the final straw in persuading an India side already missing head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar due to positive Covid tests, with senior physiotherapist Nitin Patel self-isolating, not to take the field in a series they led 2-1.

Meanwhile suggestions India had been too lax in their approach to the new environment, be it Shastri's presence at a London launch of his new book featuring some 150 guests, or reports that several of the tourists' players were out in Manchester on Thursday night are unlikely to have gone unnoticed by Australian officials.


Also Read: Queen leads congratulations for Raducanu's stunning Slam win


The England and Wales Cricket Board are currently in the process of trying to agree a set of protocols with their counterparts at Cricket Australia, as well as the Australian government, under which the Ashes can operate.

- 'Need to get clarity' -

A complicating factor, however, is the ability of individual Australian states to impose their own unilateral lockdowns at a moment's notice. 

"An Ashes series is a massive deal for world cricket," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison told The Times. 

"I think (postponement) is probably not where we are going to end up. All the England players want to be part of it. 

"I totally understand the players’ perspective on families being present and the conditions under which families are present. 

"It's a conversation we're having with Cricket Australia and the Australian government."

The latest edition of Test cricket's oldest series is set to begin in Brisbane on December 8 before moving to Adelaide ahead of the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and further matches in Sydney and Perth.

While Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are largely virus-free and fans are allowed into venues, Sydney and Melbourne are both in lockdown battling outbreaks of the Delta variant with case numbers and deaths rising.

Harrison insisted the ECB were simply trying to get answers to questions being asked by England players and had no intention of making excessive demands. 

"No one is being unreasonable," he said. "We just need to get clarity as soon as possible."

England do not yet know if star all-rounder Ben Stokes, currently taking a break from all cricket to "prioritise his mental health, will be available.

Harrison, however, said: "No player has said no (to the tour). 

"We're speaking to players a lot about this...There's nothing more important than the health and well-being of our players." 


61
Facebook 58
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail