Vodafone Men's Ashes
Broad '100 per cent clear' the Ashes will go ahead
Veteran fast bowler says he plans to travel to Australia for the Ashes, but concedes uncertainty around quarantine will make the tour a challenging one
20 September 2021, 08:53 AM AEST
Star English seamer Stuart Broad is "100 per cent clear" that the Ashes will go ahead this summer but says he would accept it if a teammate opted out of the tour.
With Australia's strict border policy unlikely to be drastically eased by the end of the year and interstate travel also clouded by COVID-19, the quarantine and bio-security requirements have some bubble-weary England players on edge about touring.
Wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler, whose wife recently gave birth to the family's second child, has indicated he may opt out of the tour if his family aren't able to travel or are forced into hard quarantine.
Cricket Australia (CA) continues to talk with state and federal governments about the circumstances of England's arrival into the country and the restrictions they will live under when the series is underway.
Broad expects the players will have to quarantine when they arrive, but wants to be able to train during that time.
He is also resigned to his wife Mollie not joining him on the tour.
The veteran added "minimal detail" has been available to players, with the situation changing quickly as Australia's vaccine program increases.
NSW and Victoria are currently in lockdown, but those state's governments plan to open up again by the time the Ashes get underway in December.
"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," Broad wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
"If you ask me if I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia in November, I would say yes.
"I am working tirelessly to get there. I don't feel there will be a postponement. In my mind, it is 100 per cent clear that an England team of some description will embark on the tour.
"But if another player called me and told me they couldn't commit, I would totally accept it.
"The ECB have tried to keep us as informed as possible with the information that they are getting from Cricket Australia.
"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."
Broad hopes rules will be less restrictive than for last year's tour of India, when he said players could not leave their hotel rooms between games and training sessions, not even to get a coffee in reception.
"There has to be a sensible balance. For example, I naturally wouldn't go to an Ed Sheeran concert at the MCG, but it shouldn't stop me being able to play a round of golf," he said.
"Give us the best possible chance to be mentally strong come January with the environment that is created.
"Let's try to make it as comfortable as possible for us because if you go somewhere like Australia and have to bunker down, you won't enjoy being in one of the greatest places on earth - and aren't going to win at cricket either."
A calf injury means the 35-year-old has not played since the first Test of the home series against India.
The final Test in the series was abandoned earlier this month because of COVID-19 concerns among the tourists.
Broad says he has sympathy for India not wanting to play the last Test, saying 10 weeks in hotel rooms took a toll on him last year on the Indian tour.
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
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