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Shane Warne says state governments need to become more flexible with border restrictions amid fears England could withdraw from the upcoming Ashes series.
The England Cricket Board announced on Monday evening that they would be meeting this weekend to decide whether or not the tour would go ahead, amid continuing concerns over Australia's virus restrictions.
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A key bone of contention among England's players is the uncertain nature of quarantine requirements as they travel around the country, as well as how much time they will be able to spend with family.
Cricket Australia has long remained confident the series will go ahead, but any shift against that would represent the biggest blow to the sport since the start of the pandemic.
Complications around the schedule remain a key concern for England.
For example, the fourth Test in Sydney is to be followed five days later by the fifth Test in Perth - an impossibility under current regulations, which do not allow any travellers from Sydney to enter Western Australia except under extenuating circumstances.
Even if the teams were permitted to travel from Sydney to Perth, they would still be required to complete another 14 days of hotel quarantine - clearly an untenable proposition.
Similar concerns have been raised over travel from Brisbane after the first Test to South Australia, where similar border arrangements are in place despite the relative lack of active coronavirus cases in Queensland at the time of writing.
Warne said it was understandable that England's players were concerned about the amount of quarantine they would have to go to, describing the current hotel quarantine system as 'inhumane'.
— ESPN Caribbean (@ESPN_Caribbean) October 2, 2021
"I hope it all goes ahead," Warne told Channel 9.
"The hardest thing for the England players, if they have to quarantine in Australia, that's fine the first 14 days with their families, Cricket Australia and the government will give them some sort of resort, where they have swimming pools, golf facilities.
"They're not just stuck in a 4x3 metre room where they have no windows, that I had to do and a lot of other people have had to do, which is just inhumane."
"It's hard to make a decision because the states keep changing their rules."
Warne said it was impossible for players to have any certainty as to how the tour would play out when, as the rules stand, they would be required to quarantine up to three times within the space of a month and a half.
The potential for sudden changes is key to the English concerns.
— Monty Panesar (@MontyPanesar) October 4, 2021
"The first Test is in Brisbane, and then they have to travel to Adelaide or Perth after that, it's very hard with the regulations, to say they'll have to do another 14 days quarantine, and then Perth won't let you in," Warne said.
"It's very hard for the England players to make a decision while it's changing all the time in each state.
"It's fantastic to have a Test match in every state, but if the WA and Queensland premiers don't want to let people in, and everyone has to do 14 days quarantine, then they won't have a Test match."
England to meet over quarantine concerns ahead of Ashes tour
A decision from England's authorities is expected within days, as players remain concerned over quarantine requirements and access for families.
In a statement, Cricket Australia said their discussions with state and Federal governments were ongoing.
"We have had regular and positive discussions with the ECB over the past six months on providing conditions which will allow players from both teams to perform at their best during the Ashes summer," CA said in a statement.
"The health and wellbeing of both squads while ensuring the tour proceeds in a safe manner is a priority and we especially thank our government partners for all their support in this regard.
"We are also buoyed by rising vaccination rates and an evolving approach to the pandemic in Australia.
"The anticipated conditions for the tour, including quarantine arrangements have now been communicated to the ECB and directly to the England players and staff."
CA's proposal is believed to include England's squad serving 14 days in quarantine on the Gold Coast, where they would be able to train.
They would then be granted more freedoms after that two-week period, but would still be banned for high-risk environments.
If England opted against touring, CA would face a massive logistical headache to fill the summer.
Meanwhile, the Hobart Test against Afghanistan is expected to be postponed, due to the Taliban's stance on women's sport.
Australia has not had a summer without a men's international Test since 1971-72, when a rest of the world team replaced South Africa.
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