Stuart Broad on Ashes tour - 'I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia'

Stuart Broad on Ashes tour – ‘I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia’

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“In my mind, it is 100 percent clear that an England team of some description will embark on the tour,” says seamer.

Stuart Broad has confirmed that fitness-permitting he will be part of the Ashes tour but added that England’s players still need more details about the restrictions they will be under.

It is expected that some players will withdraw from the trip regardless of the final protocols that are put in place but Broad, who is a single-format player and could even be an outside chance of captaining the side if Joe Root was not available, has committed to being there. He was ruled out of the recent India series after the first Test when he suffered a calf injury.

“If you ask me if I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia in November, I would say yes,” he said in his Mail on Sunday column. “I am working tirelessly to get there. I don’t feel there will be a postponement. In my mind, it is 100 percent clear that an England team of some description will embark on the tour.

“It is now just a couple of weeks away from a squad being selected but players can’t sign up to something unless they know what they are signing up for.”

Extensive negotiations are continuing between the ECB and CA to try and find compromises to quarantine and living arrangements during the two-month trip with Australia continuing to battle significant Covid outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales, although there remains hope that restrictions will have eased by November.

However, the final terms of the tour largely rest with what CA are able to negotiate with the federal and state governments. One of the biggest challenges is finding a level of biosecure plans that allow the tour to move around the country.

“The ECB have tried to keep us as informed as possible with the information that they are getting from Cricket Australia,” Broad said. “It’s just that minimal detail has been available. I don’t think anyone can say hand on heart that we won’t be living in a bubble out there and that will be extremely challenging.”

The conditions of the initial 14-day quarantine period have been one of the key areas of discussion. There had been hope of housing the squad in a resort on the Gold Coast with a greater degree of freedom, although it may be that is now limited to a period of training each day which is what India were permitted last season. Recently the India Women’s squad, and the majority of the Australia players, had to undergo two weeks hard quarantine in Brisbane ahead of their multi-format series.

“With the situation Australia is in — with their own citizens struggling to get into the country — I am not thinking we will just be able to fly in with no quarantining, as if we are living a normal life, because the world is not a normal place at the moment,” Broad said.

“We need to be in a situation where we are allowed to train for between two and three hours a day. An international bowler rarely goes two weeks in a year without bowling.”

While doubts about whether families will be able to travel have receded, there remain concerns about the conditions of their quarantine period.

It is understood that the possibility of reducing the quarantine period for the squad, which will be entirely double vaccinated, had been raised, but given 14 days has been the federal government policy throughout the pandemic it would appear an unlikely concession.

Late last week a glimmer of a solution emerged when the New South Wales government, who last season helped rescue the India tour by providing the quarantine and training facilities, announced a trial programme for a reduced seven-day home quarantine programme that would begin in late September as part of the plan to open up international borders. However, progress would have to move quickly for it to be an option for the Ashes.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo