Bombshell England breakthrough made in $200m Ashes saga

·3-min read
Pictured here, England captain Joe Root and Aussie counterpart Tim Paine pose with the Ashes urn.
The upcoming Ashes series in Australia looks set to be given the green light after a breakthrough in discussions. Pic: Getty

The Ashes is set to go ahead this summer with England's players reportedly agreeing to tour in a move that will green-light the $200 million series.

England's cricketers spoke with Cricket Australia (CA) bosses again on Tuesday evening, to thrash out their concerns over strict COVID-19 protocols.

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Players have been given until the end of this week to make a decision by England authorities, with the team only set to tour if an adequate number of front-liner players agree to travel.

However, those fears have now seemingly been allayed with UK newspaper The Telegraph reporting that captain Joe Root has led a group of players committing to the series.

According to the report, wicketkeeper Jos Buttler could be the only England player not to agree to tour.

The star wicketkeeper-batsman had previously indicated his concerns over the tour and potential time away from family.

Allrounder Moeen Ali will be unavailable after he recently retired, while Ben Stokes is taking a break from the game and Jofra Archer is out injured.

Seen here, England's players embrace during a Test match.
England's Ashes tour of Australia has been hanging in the balance for weeks. Pic: Getty

CA are yet to officially be informed but will no doubt be breathing a massive sigh of relief given the magnitude of the decision.

In a series of two separate meetings with England players in recent days, it's understood fears over snap lockdowns and quarantine conditions for families were the chief concerns.

Improved vaccination rates pave way for agreement

But CEO Nick Hockley stressed to England players that conditions in Australia were improving, with the country's vaccination rate on the rise.

Likewise, it's believed a move to have a second group England's players' families arrive before Christmas to quarantine in Melbourne has also been crucial.

Players had feared that families would only be able to arrive with them in November, meaning a hard quarantine before a long tour.

But the move to let a second group into Victoria would be welcome news, given they do not need to spend as much time away from home.

There could be some freedoms for families in regional Victoria.

England's players react after taking a wicket during a Test match against India.
Player welfare for the England team has been at the forefront of discussions about this year's Ashes series. Pic: Getty

That deal is not officially over the line with the state government, but would be in line with the road map out of COVID-19 as Victoria edges closer to 70 and 80 per cent double dosage rates.

The last concern for CA will now be the Perth Test, with officials adamant they will be granted clearance to play in Western Australia just days after being in Sydney.

If that does fall through, Canberra or Hobart could seize their first Ashes Test.

Alternatively, the match could be held as a second fixture at the SCG or MCG.

Meanwhile, England's decision comes after legend Ian Botham questioned whether the team really wanted to take on Australia in "the ultimate test".

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