England captain Joe Root refuses to confirm participation in Ashes

  • England players waiting on news of Covid protocols in Australia
  • ‘Hard to make definite decision until we know what it looks like’

Joe Root, England’s Test captain, has refused to confirm his participation in this winter’s Ashes tour as players continue to wait for full details of the trip, and in particular the Covid protocols that will be imposed on them in Australia.

“I think I speak on behalf of everyone that Ashes cricket, an away tour to Australia, is just one of those things that you’re just desperate to be on,” Root said. “The position I’m at in my career, it could be the last opportunity I get to go. So of course it’s something you’re desperate to do, desperate to hopefully make history over there and be part of something very special.

“But it’s hard to make a definite decision until we know what it looks like. Once that information comes through and we have a bit more clarity, hopefully we are in a position to do something special this year.”

The Spin: sign up and get our weekly cricket email.

The problems those organising the tour continue to face were illustrated on Tuesday, when an Australian government minister confirmed that plans to hold the fifth Test in Perth only five days after the previous match ends in Sydney would crumble if players and their entourage, like other visitors from New South Wales, are expected to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Western Australia.

“There’s serious questions about whether there’ll be a Test match in Perth this summer,” Australia’s sports minister, Richard Colbeck, said. “If there’s no chance of coming here without prolonged quarantine, it just won’t occur.” Cricket Australia continues to say that all Tests will be played as scheduled.

Also on Tuesday the Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Tasmania was postponed, and the visiting team flew home immediately, after four new cases were confirmed in Queensland, a state with a population in excess of five million.

With England’s players due to arrive in Australia in November, in time to quarantine in a resort on Queensland’s Gold Coast and prepare for the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane starting on 8 December, there is increasing pressure on all those involved to confirm arrangements. But while other players had previously spoken of their concerns over the tour, and the possibility of their choosing not to go, this is the first time England’s captain has echoed them.

Joe Root with his men’s player of the year award during the PCA Awards
Joe Root with his men’s player of the year award during the PCA Awards. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images for PCA

“I feel it’s so hard to make a definite decision until you know,” Root said. “That’s why it’s so important that we get all the information. I’m desperate to be part of an Ashes series, I always am, it’s that one series as an England player that you [most] want to be involved in and that will never change. I think it’s really important everyone makes a decision that they’re comfortable with. We just have to be patient, we just have to wait until we know what’s happening and then make a decision on the back of that.”

Despite the continued possibility that the tour, which as planned would involve five Tests in six weeks across five different states, might completely collapse, Root has tried to keep preparations as close to normal as possible. “You look at the last two years, nothing’s really been normal,” he said. “You just want to make the best of everything you can. From our point of view everything we’ve done has been about making sure we’re as ready as we can be, that we are organised and clear on what we need to do. As much as anything, we’ve tried to keep it as close to how you’d want to prepare for any tour, but in particular an Ashes tour of Australia.”

Root was speaking after being named men’s player of the year at the 52nd Cinch PCA Awards, the biggest awards ceremony in English cricket. The 30-year-old has scored 1,455 Test runs in 2021 at an average of 66.13, and returned to the top of the world rankings.

“I certainly feel I’m playing some of the best cricket I’ve played,” he said. “I feel like I’m playing quite nicely. I feel I’ve got good rhythm in the way that I’m moving and good confidence at the crease. More than anything you are desperate to keep it going, keep that hunger, keep that drive to make those big scores and contributions.”

Contributor

Simon Burnton

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
England captain Root out to set Ashes record straight as Anderson sits out
Joe Root has pledged to set the record straight in Australia and deliver the runs required to set up England’s first overseas Ashes victory since 2010-11 but he may have to go into the first Test without Jimmy Anderson

Ali Martin in Sydney

06, Dec, 2021 @6:00 PM

Article image
Joe Root tells England bowlers to be braver and rectify Ashes mistakes
Joe Root criticised his team for ‘making the same mistakes’ that led to defeat in the first Ashes Test, reserving particular criticism for the bowlers

Simon Burnton

20, Dec, 2021 @1:54 PM

Article image
Joe Root says ‘no excuses’ as England prepare for day-night Ashes Test battle
Joe Root has told his England players that their harrowing experience in Brisbane is as tough as it gets, leaving ‘no excuses’ as they head into the second Test in Adelaide

Ali Martin in Adelaide

14, Dec, 2021 @6:00 PM

Article image
Ben Stokes backs Joe Root and says he has ‘no ambition’ to be England captain
The dressing room is fully behind the Test captain said Stokes, who also defended the head coach Chris Silverwood despite England’s Ashes struggles in Australia

Ali Martin in Sydney

02, Jan, 2022 @6:00 PM

Article image
Joe Root wants post-Ashes England ‘reset’ but puts off captaincy discussion
Joe Root called for a rethink on the red-ball game in England after Australia stormed to a decisive 3-0 series lead

Ali Martin at Melbourne Cricket Ground

28, Dec, 2021 @9:48 AM

Article image
Joe Root wants to lead England into new era despite final Ashes humiliation
Joe Root has declared himself ready to lead England’s Test team into a new and potentially more successful era after their latest miserable collapse against Australia

Simon Burnton

16, Jan, 2022 @1:56 PM

Article image
T20 World Cup win over Australia can be confidence boost for Ashes, says Root
Joe Root fancies the shellacking England’s Twenty20 side handed out to Australia last Saturday has increased confidence before the Ashes campaign

Ali Martin

02, Nov, 2021 @5:07 PM

Article image
Five things England must fix before the second Ashes Test | Tim de Lisle
Mistakes were made in selection as well as batting, bowling and fielding but Australia can be beaten if improvements are made

Tim de Lisle

12, Dec, 2021 @8:00 PM

Article image
Joe Root praised for playing through pain for England after blows to groin
‘He showed a hell of a lot of character,’ said bowling coach Jon Lewis after the England captain was treated on the pitch during the second Ashes Test in Adelaide

Ali Martin at Adelaide Oval

19, Dec, 2021 @3:31 PM

Article image
England’s Dawid Malan provides the run support that Joe Root has missed all year | Andy Bull
While Joe Root has had a brilliant year at the crease, his teammates have let him down but Dawid Malan has come good at the right time

Andy Bull

10, Dec, 2021 @1:31 PM