English cricket chiefs give 'conditional approval' for Ashes tour

London (AFP) –


England's Ashes tour of Australia is set to go ahead after the England and Wales Cricket Board gave "conditional approval" to the trip on Friday.

There were fears the Ashes would be cancelled after months of concern over tough Covid-19 quarantine guidelines which England's players and their families will have to follow in Australia.

England Test captain Joe Root last week sparked fresh doubts about the tour when he refused to confirm he would tour Australia.

But the five-match series is now set to start as scheduled in December following talks between Cricket Australia, the ECB and England's players this week.

"Over recent weeks we have made excellent progress in moving forward on the England Men's Ashes Tour," an ECB statement said.

"To facilitate further progress and allow a squad to be selected, the ECB Board has met today and given its approval for the tour to go ahead."

There are, however, still some unspecified issues to resolve before England board the plane to Australia.

"This decision is subject to several critical conditions being met before we travel," the statement added.

"We look forward to the ongoing assistance from Cricket Australia in resolving these matters in the coming days."

Jos Buttler is among the England stars reported to have committed to the Ashes battle.

Buttler, England's Test vice-captain, had previously insisted he would not embark on the tour without his wife Louise and two young daughters Georgia and Margot, who was born last month.

Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Rory Burns are other potential members of England's Ashes tour who also have small children.

Root's side will attempt to become only the second England team to win an Ashes series in Australia in 35 years.

The first Test between the old rivals is set for Brisbane on December 8.

Australia are the current holders of the Ashes after retaining the urn following a 2-2 draw in England in 2019.

They won the last series "Down Under" 4-0 in 2017/18.