Australia captain Tim Paine is bullish about the Ashes going ahead this winter – even if England are not at full strength because of some players’ concerns about the Covid-19 restrictions they will face.
Paine’s England counterpart Joe Root earlier this week refused to fully commit to the marquee tour until receiving clarity about entry requirements and quarantine and bubble conditions he and his side will face Down Under.
Jos Buttler admitted he would not countenance travelling if his family were unable to join him, but Paine insisted the five-Test series, starting in 10 weeks’ time, will proceed as planned, irrespective of who opts out.
“Well, the Ashes are going ahead – the first Test is on 8 December, whether Joe’s here or not,” Paine said to Australian radio station SEN Hobart.
“No one is forcing any England player to come. That is the beauty of the world we live in, you have a choice – if you don’t want to come, don’t come.”
England and Wales Cricket Board chair Ian Watmore is prepared for the issue to rumble on, telling the Daily Mail earlier this week: “There is no simple date it must be decided by, apart from when that plane goes to Australia.”
Paine added: “They all want to come, there’s no doubt about it. They’re trying to get themselves the best possible conditions they can, but at the end of the day, we all are.
“It will be worked out as we’ve said many times above us, and then they’ll make a decision whether or not they’ll get on that plane. There will be a squad of England players coming here for the first Test on 8 December.”
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