Ashes going ahead with or without Joe Root


The ECB are due to present plans to players shortly ahead of naming a squad

Tim Paine has declared the Ashes will begin on December 8 regardless of whether counterpart Joe Root is part of the tour, also giving Kevin Pietersen a clip for being the “expert on everything”.

Uncertainty over England’s participation in cricket’s showpiece Test series has been a talking point through recent months, with the visitors concerned about quarantine concessions, biosecurity restrictions, bubble fatigue and family support.

The matter even formed part of the agenda when Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson recently dined in Washington. The ECB will soon press players to commit, wanting to name an Ashes squad.

Root said earlier this week he is “desperate” to captain England in the five-Test series but wasn’t ready to commit because of uncertainty about arrangements in Australia. Paine pointedly noted he didn’t care which Englishmen agree to tour.

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