Tim Paine: Australia captain says Ashes will go ahead 'whether Joe Root is here or not'
Joe Root and others on his team have expressed doubts about the tour due to 'bubble fatigue' and concerns their families will not be able to travel with them; Australia has caps on international arrivals and there is a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine even for the fully vaccinated
Last Updated: 04/10/21 10:44am
Tim Paine said the Ashes will go ahead regardless of some England players' reluctance to deal with tough Covid-19 quarantine restrictions.
England skipper Joe Root and others on his team have expressed doubts about the tour due to 'bubble fatigue' and concerns their families will not be able to travel with them due to Australia's strict protocols.
"The Ashes are going ahead. The first Test is on December 8 - whether Joe is here or not," the Australia captain told radio station SEN Hobart.
"It'll be worked out above us and then they'll have a choice whether to get on that plane or not.
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"No one is forcing any England player to come. That's the beauty of the world we live in - you have a choice. If you don't want to come, don't come."
Cricket Australia is negotiating with authorities and England's board over travel conditions and whether players' families can come.
Australia has caps on international arrivals and there is a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine even for the fully vaccinated.
Former England batsman turned pundit Kevin Pietersen said England players should not travel if placed under any restrictions.
"There is NO WAY I would go to The Ashes this winter. ZERO chance!" he tweeted.
There is NO WAY I would go to The Ashes this winter.— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) September 27, 2021
Unless, the ridiculous quarantine rules were squashed and my family could travel with zero restrictions.
Players are now done with bubbles!
"Unless, the ridiculous quarantine rules were squashed and my family could travel with zero restrictions."
Paine said Pietersen did not speak for the players and said he should leave the decision-making up to them.
"If you want to know anything on any topic in the world, you just ask Kevin Pietersen. He is an expert on everything," added the captain dryly.
"We have not heard one England player come out and say they will not be coming. I think it's been beat up and people like Kevin like to get themselves a little bit of exposure in the media."
England vice-captain Jos Buttler is hoping for clarity over the Ashes tour "in the next few days" but has reiterated he would not consider travelling if his family were unable to join him in Australia.
Buttler is preparing to fly to the United Arab Emirates next week for the Twenty20 World Cup, but whether he also takes part in this winter's marquee Test series in Australia remains up in the air.
As Root's right-hand man Buttler's voice carries significant weight but, having just welcomed his second daughter, family circumstances mean he is even keener than most to establish the ground rules before making a decision.
What is clear, though, is that no family means no Ashes for the 31-year-old.
Asked if that was a red line for him, Buttler said: "Yes, definitely for myself. If I had to do a World Cup and an Ashes - four, five months without seeing my family - I wouldn't be comfortable doing that.
"We're still waiting for more information, as soon as possible. Hopefully in the next few days, there'll be more information. As soon as you get that it makes it easier to know what decision you're making.
"The ECB and Cricket Australia will be working very hard together to make it as good as possible. It's tough to make a decision when you don't have all the answers. In Covid times, there is always going to be some sort of question that is difficult to answer.
"It could be changeable, it would be naive not to say so in the times we're living in, but you want to go there with as many assurances as possible."