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England are seeking assurances from Cricket Australia that players’ families will be able to travel to the Ashes this summer.
After 18 months in biosecure environments, England’s players have stressed the need for their families to be allowed to travel to Australia, stating that “the integrity of the Ashes is going to be paramount”.
The England and Wales Cricket Board says it is yet to receive any guarantees from Cricket Australia that families will be able to travel for the summer Ashes series.Credit:Getty
The England and Wales Cricket Board views the presence of loved ones as being crucial to safeguarding the players’ mental health.
But chief executive Tom Harrison has said that England are yet to receive guarantees from Cricket Australia that their families will be free to join the players on tour.
“We need to get the assurances that we need to be comfortable, that our players can get on the plane to Australia and feel confident that they can be at their best, and they can perform at their best,” Harrison said. “Those assurances have been highlighted to Cricket Australia.
“They’re taking it very seriously. And they understand the issue at hand. This is not an adversarial -conversation, it’s one which we’re doing together.
“The integrity of the Ashes is going to be paramount, and we’ve expressed that. Cricket Australia understands this, just as well as we do.”
“I think we’ve got all the right people paying all the right levels of attention to the importance of this debate, and to the critical nature of making sure we answer these questions that we are reasonably asking of Cricket Australia.”
Harrison added: “The integrity of the Ashes is going to be paramount, and we’ve expressed that. Cricket Australia understands this, just as well as we do. The issue at the moment is the process that we need to go through to get the assurances that we need to be comfortable that our players can get on the plane to Australia, and feel confident that they can be at their best and they can perform at their best, without having to cope with the mental weight of being massively concerned about the conditions under which they play – either your family not being with you at all, or your family are going through some quarantine experience.”
Meanwhile, Harrison says the sport is looking to reduce its carbon footprint by taking fewer flights. In Australia, for instance, England have frequently travelled from the east coast to Perth for a Twenty20 or one-day international game, and then returned to the east coast – a five-hour flight each way – for another match.
“If you look at us as a sport, the thing that shines out is the amount of travel and flights we take,” Harrison said. “That is probably the single-biggest impact we can make, by addressing that question. We have to get into it and discuss it, I think at ICC [International Cricket Council] level.
“We owe the world an explanation of what the game’s global sustainability strategy is. I say it with no pride, that we’ve probably taken a cost-effective approach to those kinds of debates before, as opposed to one which has carbon footprint and air miles at its heart. The time is now when we have to address that.”
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