Vodafone Men's Ashes
Langer urges calm ahead of another summer of bubbles
Australia's coach expecting tight restrictions again this summer as Cricket Australia works with governments on bio-security and quarantine plans for the Ashes
Louis Cameron in Barbados
28 July 2021, 10:25 AM AEST
Justin Langer has warned restrictions on players during the upcoming Vodafone Ashes campaign may not be any looser than those they faced last summer, but insists Australia need to "stay calm and get on with it".
The toll of living in bubbles continues to be a major sticking point for international cricketers, with British media reporting some England players are considering pulling out of the Ashes if their families are not permitted to join them in Australia.
It's been reported the England players will hold talks in the coming days with officials as they try to ascertain whether they will be joined by their families this summer, or face months away from loved ones for the T20 World Cup and then the Ashes.
Currently, only around 3000 people are permitted to enter Australia each month and all must complete two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine upon their arrival.
Cricket Australia successfully pulled off a three-ODI, three-T20I, four-Test home series against India last summer despite a succession of obstacles, including having to play the final Test in Brisbane while both teams were subject to Queensland state government-run hotel quarantine.
Some families of Indian players travelled with the team for the tour, but some players from both sides went months, and some the duration of the tour, without seeing their families.
"Last year was a tough season for Australian cricket, and the resilience and fight to get through that with India – I think we're going to have to get ready for another one similar to that by the sounds of it," Australia men's coach Langer told cricket.com.au in Barbados.
"That's going to take an enormous amount of work, an enormous amount of discipline, resilience and calmness to get through it. But hopefully we're getting better at it."
While just 13 per cent of Australia's population is currently full vaccinated, that number will be higher by the time England are due to arrive for the summer. Australia's cricketers were all fully vaccinated before their tour of the Caribbean, while the higher rate of vaccination in the UK means most of their touring party, as well as family members, would also be vaccinated.
Cricket Australia is currently working with state and federal governments as part of their planning to bring the England squad into the country this summer.
"Cricket Australia continues to work closely with the ECB and government authorities in Australia regarding the upcoming Ashes series, which will be the centrepiece for one of the biggest summers of cricket on record," a CA spokesperson said on Tuesday.
"With the Ashes four months away, we are currently planning the operational requirements of this tour and working with the ECB on the proposed make-up of the England touring party.
"As was the case last season, CA will work constructively and in partnership with government to deliver the summer of cricket, while ensuring the health, wellbeing and safety of the community."
The England women's team is also scheduled to travel to Australia this summer as well as India's women plus the men's teams of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, although the Black Caps may be able to travel quarantine free as part of the trans-Tasman bubble.
Bubble restrictions were a major factor in a host of big-name stars like David Warner, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell pulling out of the Caribbean and Bangladesh limited-overs tours.
The Langer-led white-ball squad will be subjected to the toughest bio-security measures they have faced on an overseas tour when they travel to Dhaka on Wednesday for a five-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Cricket Australia have enlisted an infectious diseases specialist, Cassy Workman, to oversee protocols for the tour while national teams executive Ben Oliver will also join the off-field staff for the trip.
Bangladesh set a record on Tuesday of new COVID-19 cases and deaths within a single day with more than 15,000 new infections and 247 deaths reported. There are fears the outbreak may worsen after health restrictions were recently eased for over a week for the Eid-al-Adha festival.
Having been vaccinated against the virus, fast bowler Wes Agar said last week the team has no qualms about heading to Bangladesh.
Australia are fresh off playing their second one-day international against West Indies in extraordinary circumstances, spending nearly two full days in isolation due to a COVID-19 scare and only being let out of their hotel rooms hours before the game.
Riley Meredith suffered a side strain in that match – admittedly a common injury for fast bowlers even with the best preparation, but the disjointed lead-in would not have helped.
Langer, who himself has completed three separate bouts of mandatory two-week quarantine since the pandemic began, was proud of Australia's fightback in the game after they had collapsed to 6-45 early in the match.
The former Test batter said players need to be adaptable should a similar situation unfold again.
"What we can take from it is we have to be really resilient," Langer said of their unusual second ODI preparation. "We know now that's the new world we live in.
"We've got to stay calm when it happens and realise we've got great medicos. The CA medical staff – my gosh, they've been brilliant. We've got to trust what they're doing.
"All the chatter and catastrophising – we've just got to stay calm and get on with it. A lot of the chatter is nonsense to be honest.
"We're getting used to it … There are worse things to be doing in life. We've got to be calm and we've got have perspective."
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Dec 8-12: First Test, The Gabba
Dec 16-20: Second Test, Adelaide Oval
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 5-9: Fourth Test, SCG
Jan 14-18: Fifth Test, Perth Stadium