Vodafone Men's Ashes
Ashes rivals arrive after sharing 'unbearable' flight
Members of Australia's and England's respective World Cup squads arrive at Brisbane Airport ahead of the Ashes
AAP & cricket.com.au
16 November 2021, 10:17 AM AEST
Members of England's vanquished World Cup side have been forced to share a long-haul flight with Australia's victorious squad as the two nations turn their attention to the Ashes.
England's multi-format stars like Jos Buttler were forced to cool their heels in the UAE after their shock semi-final loss to New Zealand last Wednesday and wait for Australia to play in the World Cup final before flying to Queensland together ahead of the Ashes.
The flight, which landed in Brisbane this morning, was a charter to ensure both squads comply with COVID-19 protocols before entering quarantine on the Gold Coast.
England's all-format players Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood were among those who landed at Brisbane Airport and quickly moved out of the terminal.
Australia's players and coaches waved to the waiting media before also exiting.
The rivals may have caught separate flights if one side had been eliminated before the semi-finals, as looked to be on the cards when Buttler helped England thump Australia on October 30.
Instead, they flew out together with the Australians coming straight from celebrating of their Cup-winning triumph over the Kiwis.
"There is one bunch of cricketers who won't be enjoying this, watching on, and that's England's Ashes players," former England captain Mike Atherton told Sky Sports after Australia won the final.
"That could be an interesting plane journey."
Before Australia's win over New Zealand, Wood conceded he was nervous about the prospect of flying home with an Australian side still celebrating their historic win.
"I just can't have them (Australia) win that game. It's going to be unbearable," Wood told the BBC.
"You can look them in the eye and say congratulations to them but when you are about to head off to an Ashes series against them, the last thing you want is them feeling confident and waving a trophy around in your face before you've even got there."
While it's not uncommon for international sides to fly together domestically during a series, it's rare that they share a long-haul flight.
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood downplayed the idea there would be any awkwardness about the arrangement.
"It will be fine, we've played a lot of cricket with them - county cricket and IPL," Hazlewood said on Monday.
"Everyone knows everyone, we all get on fine."
The logistical quirk of the COVID-19 era is one thing, but the momentum generated by Australia and England's contrasting fate at the World Cup is another, with opinion split as to whether such a hard-to-quantify force will cross formats.
England's Test skipper Joe Root, speaking before the knockout phase of the World Cup, argued his teammates should take a degree of confidence from the T20 win over Australia.
But Root, speaking last week, also downplayed the idea of England's World Cup "disappointment" clouding their Ashes preparations.
Hazlewood, Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are among the Australians needing to quickly reset for the Ashes.
Mitch Marsh will also be on selectors' red-ball radar after a magnificent man-of-the-match knock in the final, although the allrounder downplayed his own hopes of remaining with the Test squad beyond a selection trial game on December 1-3.
National selectors are close to finalising the list of players for that intra-squad match in Brisbane.
Australia's top priority will be building up the bowling workloads of Test quicks Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc, trying to reduce their risk of injury amid a big spike in overs after the World Cup.
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Nov 23-25: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Nov 30 – Dec 3: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Dec 1-3: Australian intra-squad match, Brisbane
Dec 9-12: Australia A v England Lions, Brisbane
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium