T20 World Cup 2021 – ‘Important we focus on the here and now’

Chris Woakes says that England’s multi-format players must find a way to put the Ashes phoney war on the back-burner, and focus instead on their immediate challenge at the T20 World Cup, after months of behind-the-scenes wrangling finally resulted this week in the naming of a 17-man squad for next month’s tour of Australia.

Woakes was one of the players with young families to have expressed serious reservations about the England touring party’s quarantine restrictions, both in the lead-up to the first Test at Brisbane on December 8 and potentially thereafter as the series moves across state borders. And while their stance has attracted some criticism, notably from Ian Botham, who last week questioned whether the players “fancied the ultimate test” of an Ashes tour, Woakes was adamant that the post-Covid world fully justified their refusal to put up with less-than-sympathetic conditions.

“We all realise the world is a different place to what it was 18 months ago, before the pandemic happened,” Woakes said. “So I don’t think there’s any hiding behind Covid. If we were living in a normal world, this wouldn’t be the case. We would be champing at the bit. But quarantine is a big thing. We’ve done a hell of a lot of it and so the thought of having to do 14 days of it with families is quite a big thing for a lot of people.”

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