Tim Paine, Australia’s Test captain, declared on Friday that the Ashes will be played with or without Joe Root, after the England captain declined to commit until the coronavirus quarantine restrictions were clarified.
Cricket Australia is in talks with Canberra and its English counterparts on what kind of biosecurity bubble players will have to suffer in Australia, as well as if their families will be allowed to accompany them.
Root, who has two young children, said he was “desperate” to play the five-Test series this week, but added: “I feel like it’s so hard to make a solid decision until you know.”
”England vice-captain Jos Buttler is also hesitant, saying that if his family is unable to join him due to severe Australian border controls, he will not board the plane.
Paine, who is recovering from neck surgery, said he was confident that the series, which is set to begin in Brisbane, will go on regardless of what happened.
”Well, the Ashes are going forward – whether Joe is here or not, the first Test is on December 8,” he said on SEN sports radio, where he has a weekly stint.
“They all want to come, there’s no doubt about it,” he said, implying that some of the England players’ comments were pre-emptive.
“They’re trying to obtain the greatest possible conditions for themselves, but at the end of the day, we’re all doing the same thing.”
It will be worked out above us, and then they will decide whether or not to board the plane,” he continued. “A squad of England players will arrive here on December 8th for the first Test.”
After Brisbane, the tour will travel to Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney before finishing in Perth.
However, the Perth match is marred by the fact that Western Australia forces interstate visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, a situation that does not look to be changing anytime soon.
Paine has pushed for the game to be moved to Hobart, Tasmania, his home state, but back-to-back Tests in Sydney appears to be the more likely alternative.
Kevin Pietersen, a former England captain, took to Twitter this week to criticise Australia’s “ridiculous quarantine restrictions,” stating he would never go under such conditions.
Pietersen was humorously dubbed “an expert on everything” by Paine.
“I believe it has been beaten up, and individuals like Kevin prefer to grab themselves some media attention whenever they can,” he added.