Cricket Australia chief: Ashes preparations are underway

The Cricket Australia (CA) boss said preparations for Ashes are continuing “full steam ahead” after the tour received the green light from the England and Wales Cricket Council (ECB).

Concerns over Covid’s travel restrictions in Australia and the prospect of multiple withdrawals among visitors were real enough last week for the ECB to suggest they might not participate in the marquee series if a group worthy of the rivalry history could not be formed.

But fruitful discussions with CA over family and quarantine arrangements meant there was no withdrawal, with England nominating an almost full team for the tour on Sunday.

We are working with all parties involved to play the schedule as planned

Nick Hockley, CEO CA

After the ECB’s approval, which was given “subject to several critical conditions being met”, CA Managing Director Nick Hockley said preparations were now “full steam ahead”.

“We are working with all parties concerned to play the schedule as planned,” he said.

“Now that the tour is confirmed, we are doubling down on the finer details with each of the sites and each of the host cities.”

Mr Hockley also gave an overview of the ECB’s conditions for approval of the tour, which include the development of visa exemptions and biosecurity protocols.

He said, “We are working to deal with the various visa and travel exemptions for the entire tour group… this is the first set of conditions.

“The second set is the finer detail of our biosecurity protocols. It is a work that continues, as between our respective medical teams.

“What I can say is that we have a range of medical protocols which will vary depending on the nature of the situation in one of the cities when we move to Australia for the tour.

“Planning an Ashes series is a big and complex undertaking in normal times. But of course, with the biosecurity requirements layered together, the level of detail in the planning by many people is absolutely superb.

“I think we are all now looking forward to that first ball on December 8th at the Gabba.”

After the first test in Brisbane, the teams will meet for a day / night test in Adelaide, the Boxing Day test in Melbourne, then matches in Sydney and Perth.

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