Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Ash preparations run with “full steam ahead”

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The head of Cricket Australia (CA) says Ashes preparations are “at full steam” after the tour was given the go-ahead by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Concerns over Australia’s Covid travel restrictions and the prospect of multiple visitor page prints were real enough just last week to warn the ECB that it may not be participating in the marquee series if a group commensurate with the historical rivalry cannot be pitched.

But successful talks with CA about family arrangements and quarantine meant there were no opt-outs, and England named a nearly full-fledged squad for the tour on Sunday.

After the approval tick of the ECB, which was given “subject to the fulfillment of several critical conditions”, CA boss Nick Hockley said that the preparations are now “going full steam ahead”.

“We are working with all relevant parties to play the schedule as planned,” he said.

“Now that the tour is confirmed, we’re doubling down the finer details with each of the venues and each of the host cities.”

Mr. Hockley also provided insight into the ECB’s terms and conditions for approving the tour, including drawing up visa exemptions and biosecurity protocols.

He said, “We are working to process the various visa and travel exemptions for the entire tour group … that is the first set of conditions.

“The second sentence is the finer detail of our biosecurity protocols. This is an ongoing work between our respective medical teams.

“What I can say is that we have a number of medical protocols that vary according to the nature of the situation in each of the cities while we are traveling for the tour of Australia.

“Planning an Ashes series is a big, complex undertaking in normal times. But of course the level of detail of the planning by many people is absolutely superb given the overlaying of biosafety requirements.

“I think we are all looking forward to the first ball on December 8th at the Gabba.”

After the first test in Brisbane, the sides meet for a day / night test in Adelaide, the Boxing Day test in Melbourne, then for games in Sydney and Perth.

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