Some England players may not take part in the upcoming Ashes series, taking place in Australia this winter.
This is pending the result of talks between England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).
They may miss the tour for very good reason.
As Australia has some of the strictest regulations around Covid-19 in the world, it is unclear whether family will be able to travel with the England team, which would deny the players their key support network on the backdrop of what has been a tough year and a half where bio-bubbles have prevented them seeing their families.
Further, with some players leaving in September to be involved in the ICC T20 World Cup, it could very well be that players will leave home for the tournament, and only return in mid-January following the completion of the Ashes.
Clarifications on arrangements for the tour is due from Cricket Australia and the Australian government in early August, as according to BBC Sport.
More difficulties will arise due to parts of Australia being in lockdown. The five Ashes Tests will be played in five separate states, all of which have their own regulations.
One unnamed player has even told BBC Sport that he would be ‘reluctant to take a full part in the Ashes series if his family are not allowed to travel’.
Arguably the most important bilateral series in cricket, The Ashes should be the pinnacle; a showcase of the best cricketers on the largest stage.
With key players potentially missing, the competitive nature of the cricket would be comprised, and so to the interest and prestige surrounding the series.
Perhaps the Ashes should be delayed? If the series were to be played next year, it would schedule well with the next T20 World Cup due to be held in Australia in the autumn of 2022.
Regardless, it is important to note that these conversations are being had at all. The priority has to be the well-being of the players, for without their well-being, there would be no high quality cricket to speak of.
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