ASHES 2021-22: ECB says player welfare 'main priority' ahead of tour plans

The iconic Ashes series is slated to get underway on December 8 in Brisbane.

England Test team is due to visit Australia later this year | GettyPlayers and support staff members’ welfare will be the utmost priority for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as the governing body discusses provisional plans to visit Australia for the upcoming Ashes series.

The debate over whether the Ashes 2021-22 should go ahead or be postponed by a year has started to grow after restrictions imposed by Australian authorities, banning all but a small number of arrivals into the country due to COVID-19 pandemic.

See Also: Ashes 2021-22 will be "farcical" without England's best, says Vaughan; wants travel issues sorted

As a result of this development, England’s leading cricketers might have to stay away from their families for four months, including over Christmas and New Year, owing to their commitments at the T20 World Cup prior to the Ashes.

The ECB, in a joint statement with the Professional Cricketers’ Association, said it had held meetings with the England team and the Team England Player Partnership to discuss provisional plans for the iconic Ashes series, slated to get underway on December 8 in Brisbane.

"All parties are collaborating and will continue to work together to understand protocols around bubble environments, family provision and quarantine rules that will be in place for the tour during the current Covid-19 pandemic," the statement said.

"With player and management's welfare paramount, the ECB will discuss planning and operational requirements with Cricket Australia in the coming weeks and how they seek to implement their policies in partnership with state and federal governments.

"All stakeholders are committed to putting player and staff welfare as the main priority and finding the right solutions that enables the England team to compete with the best players and at the highest possible standard that the Ashes series deserves."

Meanwhile, England’s ace all-rounder Ben Stokes on Friday (July 30) took an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to prioritize his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month.

"Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing. Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our people. The demands on our athletes to prepare and play elite sport are relentless in a typical environment, but the ongoing pandemic has acutely compounded this,” said Managing Director of England Men's Cricket, Ashley Giles.

"Spending significant amounts of time away from family, with minimal freedoms, is extremely challenging. The cumulative effect of operating almost continuously in these environments over the last 16 months has had a major impact on everyone's wellbeing. Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future,” he added.

ECB has named Craig Overton as a replacement for Stokes in England squad for the upcoming Test series against India, scheduled to start on August 4 at Trent Bridge.


By Salman Anjum - 31 Jul, 2021

    Share Via