politics

Ashes hope as Boris Johnson suggests Australia could bend Covid rules


The Prime Minister raised the cricket tournament with Aussie PM Scott Morrison over dinner in Washington DC

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Hopes of the Ashes going ahead this winter have risen after Boris Johnson revealed he had asked the Aussie PM to find a way round strict Covid rules.

The Prime Minister raised the cricket tournament with Scott Morrison over dinner in Washington DC on Tuesday night.

England’s players are concerned about Australia ‘s strict coronavirus protocols and there are particular issues surrounding whether or not their families will be able to join them in Australia.

The Ashes is due to kick off in December with five matches played over the following two months around Australia, which has virtually closed its borders to foreign nationals.

Mr Johnson told reporters: “I raised it and he said he was going to do his best for the families. “

“He totally got the point that the cricketers, it’s very tough to ask people be away from their families for so long over Christmas.”








Jos Buttler (right) refused to rule out the possibility of not touring with the England cricket team for The Ashes in December
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Image:

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But Mr Morrison did not agree to set up a travel taskforce or to consider allowing all double jabbed Brits to enter the country.

The PM added: “He merely undertook to go away and come back with a solution if he could find one”.

Several England players could face up to four months without seeing their loved ones if they play at both the T20 World Cup and the Ashes.

Jos Buttler, for example, last month said he could not rule out the prospect of skipping the series, having already pulled out of the IPL after his wife gave birth to their second child.

He told the Sunday Times: “One of the challenges is working out where the line is where you say I can’t do that. I’ve sacrificed a lot for cricket and my wife and family have sacrificed a lot.

“You have to be open to saying no. It would be incredibly disappointing if some players feel like they can’t do it, but we’re in a world at the moment where that is a possibility.”

Stuart Broad, meanwhile, has committed himself to the tour, saying he is “happy to get on a plane to Australia”.





James Anderson has also said he is willing to go, revealing that his family “have already said they are not going to Australia” and admitting that the situation is “easier” for him as he only plays Test cricket.

Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, Butcher called for all of England’s players to commit themselves to the Ashes.

“I’m slightly furious about the idea that players are thinking about not going on an Ashes tour because they’re worried about the quarantine requirements for their wives and kids,” he said.

“Now, wives and kids going on trips in my time was very much a privilege, it wasn’t expected.

“I know times have changed a lot but given that everybody is having to make various sacrifices, lots of sacrifices, lots of things are different because of Covid…

“This is a one-off Ashes trip. Chances are, the next time it comes around, four years’ time, every thing will be relatively back to normal and you’ll have your families there for Christmas and all the rest of it.

“But this is your job. This is how you earn your money.”





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