The Ashes tour is officially on and Joe Root will take a strong team with no players expected to be out.
After weeks of agony and talks, England players now know they will be playing five Tests in Australia this winter with a chance to regain their little urn.
The ECB board met yesterday and approved the tour “subject to the fulfillment of a number of important conditions prior to our visit.”
These have to do with the quarantine protocol for players and their families – which has been the biggest problem – but will not jeopardize travel.
A larger contingent of 18 or 19 players will be picked over the next few days and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who has expressed doubts about the tour, will be included.
Injured Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes are not the only big names available.
Players and families arriving in Australia in November will face a more relaxed situation on the Gold Coast than others entering the country.
And families who visit for Christmas and New Years will be able to quarantine at a resort-type hotel outside Melbourne.
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The first Test will begin in Brisbane on 8 December with matches in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, although the Perth game is in doubt due to state border restrictions.
Captain Root said he was “desperate” to go ahead with the tour but was reluctant to commit publicly because he didn’t want to impress his teammates.
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An ECB statement said: “In recent weeks, we have made excellent progress moving forward on the England Men’s Ashes Tour.
“To facilitate further progress and to allow a team to be selected, the ECB board met on Friday and gave its approval to go ahead with the tour. This decision is subject to the fulfillment of a number of important conditions before we travel.
“We look forward to ongoing assistance from Cricket Australia in resolving these matters in the coming days.”