The Ashes: Australian Sports Minister admits chances of 5th Test in Perth are ‘very slim’ due to quarantine restrictions
Australia are set to rule out Perth as the venue for the final Test of the upcoming Ashes, amid the quarantine regulations in Western Australia. England players have expressed their willingness for a less strict bio bubble to allow them time with their families, and the negotiations have continued between the two cricket boards. Western Australia currently requires arrivals to undergo 14 days of quarantine before being able to circulate freely within the state, ruling out potentially any chance of Perth hosting the Ashes this time around.
As per a Daily Mail report, Australian sports minister Richard Colbeck has almost ruled out the possibility of an Ashes Test match at Perth due to the strict quarantine regulations imposed in the state. Colbeck said, “We’ve had to do a lot of work to organise quarantine arrangements for cricketers coming into Australia. There are serious questions about whether there’ll be a Test match in Perth this summer. If there’s no chance of coming here without prolonged quarantine, it just won’t occur.”
The Australian sports minister argued that such is the schedule of the Ashes that there is no timeframe for players to isolate between matches. The Perth Test starts five days after the fourth Test in Sydney which is due to end on January 9. Colbeck said, “After the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, there is no timeframe for players to quarantine before flying to Perth, so I think those arrangements are largely settled. The Australian government wants the Ashes to go ahead, but the chances of the Perth Test taking place are very slim.”
Should Perth be unable to make the necessary arrangements, the fifth Ashes Test could likely be moved to Brisbane, Tasmania. Colbeck has backed his home state to chip in, who due to hold a Test match against Afghanistan before Cricket Australia cancelled on it following their Taliban takeover.
England Cricket Board (ECB) are concerned over the impact of the lengthy bio-bubble on the health of the players as the team will be going Down Under soon after the T20 World Cup. To lessen the mental stress, players have sought to travel with their families for the Ashes series, a move opposed by the Australian government which has imposed strict travel restrictions on visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also stepped in on behalf of his country’s cricketers and has pleaded for the families to be allowed to travel to Australia with the players to lessen the stress caused by staying away from the families during Christmas. And while sources say that Cricket Australia’s initial guidelines were “better than expected”, ECB and the players await more details before making a final call. A host of players are nonetheless expected to withdraw, with Moeen Ali calling time on his career on Monday.