England were able to name their strongest available squad for the Ashes tour to Australia on Sunday as their stars committed to the trip after coronavirus quarantine fears.
The Ashes tour had been the subject of tense negotiations after England’s players and their families expressed concerns over tough Covid quarantine restrictions in Australia.
England Test captain Joe Root and vice-captain Jos Buttler both hinted they might not travel if their fears were not eased.
But following a breakthrough in talks with Cricket Australia, the England and Wales Cricket Board on Friday said they had given “conditional approval” for the tour to go ahead. Both Root and Buttler were named in the 17-man squad for the tour and there were no Covid opt-outs, with Essex batsman Dan Lawrence the most eye-catching selection.
“A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer. I’m delighted that all of our available players have committed to the tour,” England head coach Chris Silverwood said. “This is why we play and coach to be involved in iconic series like this.
More than half of our squad haven’t featured in an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace the cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world.”
Veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad head up the seam bowling for what may well be their Ashes swansongs, with support from fellow pacemen Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson.
Broad will embark on his fourth Ashes tour after making “excellent progress” from a torn right calf sustained during the Test series against India. Moeen Ali’s retirement from Test action left the way clear for Jack Leach and Dom Bess to take up two spinners slots.—AFP