England condone culture of family
CONCERNS over the Ashes series continue, with single players in England’s ranks consulted about supporting a family friendly push through Australia’s quarantine jungle.
England’s senior players are understood to be keen on establishing solidarity in their push for what they consider to be reasonable quarantine restrictions on their five-Test Ashes tour due to start at the Gabba on December 8.
While the onus will be on each player to make their own call on whether they tour, a unified stance on quarantine demands may involve some selflessness on behalf of younger, single players who would be thrilled simply to be on the tour but could find themselves supporting a policy which helps the wider group, many of whom have young families.
English players are aware their bargaining power as a group is stronger than if they adopt an every-man-for-himself policy.
England’s first concerns over their families is simply that they will be allowed in the country but that issue seems to have been settled, with preliminary plans for families to join the squad on the Gold Coast in November.
But, as spotlighted by former England captain Michael Vaughan recently, there are also concerns about the strain of subjecting young families to a two-week quarantine.
“If you have a young wife and two or three kids are you really going to expect them to spend two weeks (quarantining) in a hotel room and not go out?’’ Vaughan last month told the Road To The Ashes podcast.
“I think a lot has to change. “It’s not just a matter of letting the families in. I think the quarantining may have to change and that is saying to your government the rules and restrictions (must change), which is a very difficult decision to make.
“Do you want to see an Ashes series where five of the top guys are not going to tour?’’
It is likely England will ask for compassion in quarantine conditions, particularly for families, but Australia’s state and federal governments may argue that they have already shown compassion by letting them in the country when many thousands of Australians are unsuccessfully trying to return home.
The Ashes series is worth more than $200m to Australia and will not be stopped by the handful of English player withdrawals that have been tipped for months.
Australia will urge England to simply keep picking players until they can fill a squad.
Unlike Australian players who have not played an overseas Test for two years, England players have been “bubble wrapped’’ for much of the past 18 months.
With English sport and society welcoming back crowds, some English folk see visiting locked-down Australian cities as a journey back in time to where England was a year ago.