Ashes: Joe Root ‘desperate’ to go to Australia but does not confirm his place on tour


Joe Root says he is “desperate” to take part in the Ashes, but stopped short of confirming he will definitely lead England in Australia.

England’s players are waiting to learn what touring conditions this winter’s series will be played under.

“It is so hard to make a decision until we know what it looks like,” said Root.

“Once that information comes through and we have a bit more clarity, hopefully we are in a position to go and do something special this winter.”

England are looking to regain the urn from Australia, with the five-Test series set to begin on 8 December.

However, with Australia having some of the strictest Covid-19 protocols in the world, England’s players have concerns over whether their families will be allowed to travel with them, the nature of quarantine arrangements and any potential ‘bubble’ they would be expected to live in.

Cricket Australia (CA) has delivered proposals to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which has responded with a number of issues that require clarification.

The touring conditions could be presented to the England players on Friday who would then have the weekend to decide on their participation before a squad is selected next week.

Root, speaking as he was named as the Professional Cricketers’ Association men’s player of the year, said the wait for information was “frustrating”.

The 30-year-old led England on their last tour of Australia but that series ended in a 4-0 defeat and he has not made a century in his nine Tests down under.

That record is in contrast to the 1,455 Test runs he scored in the past year, a return that led to the PCA award.

As England’s captain and leading batsman, Root will be aware that his words carry significance and that any public statement he makes about his own availability to tour could put pressure on his team-mates to make their own commitment.

“I am desperate to be part of an Ashes series, I always am,” he said.

“It is the one series as an England player that you want to be involved in, and that will never change.

“For the group we’ve got to find out what the position is and make a decision off the back of that.”

England will definitely be without injured fast bowler Jofra Archer, while all-rounder Ben Stokes’ participation is in serious doubt as he takes an indefinite break from cricket to protect his mental well-being.

The tour conditions proposed by CA are thought to be better than the ECB first feared and there is a feeling that the majority of players will accept them.

Still, planning for the tour is complicated by the fact the five Tests are due to take place in five different Australian states, which all have their own Covid protocols.

While New South Wales, the state of the fourth Test in Sydney, has published its own route out of lockdown, there are doubts over whether the fifth Test can take place in Perth because of Western Australia’s travel restrictions.

On Tuesday, Queensland’s Sheffield Shield fixture against Tasmania was postponed because of four new community cases in Queensland, which is due to host the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

“From a players’ point of view we just want to know what the situation will be and then we can make decisions,” said Root.

“Of course it has been a discussion point throughout the whole summer. It is a big deal to all of us.

“Those will continue and hopefully we can get some clarity on everything and it would be nice to all go out there and create history.”

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