Sir Ian Botham claims England players who are contemplating opting out of the Ashes ‘don’t fancy the ultimate test’, despite Covid concerns: ‘It’s a challenge … I’d already have my bags packed’

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  • This year’s Ashes series in Australia is in doubt due to England’s Covid concerns
  • Joe Root’s side wants answers to more questions about the quarantine protocol
  • Sir Ian Botham questions the willingness of England stars looking to pull out
  • Michael Holding says ECB has ‘Western arrogance’ after Pakistan T20 call

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England great Ian Botham has questioned the will of players who are concerned about the stricter COVID protocols faced by them and their families on this winter’s Ashes tour.

“It’s the final test and I wonder if some of these people don’t like the final exam,” Botham said. Daily Telegraph. ‘Playing Test cricket for England is the ultimate and to play against Australia in Australia – and win – is fantastic.

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‘I just wish we could put a positive spin on something and I have a positive spin: let’s get out there, let’s play what we do best and see if we can beat the best in our backyard or No. Because Australia doesn’t often lose in its own backyard.

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‘I suggest it’s a challenge. Had I been in his shoes, I would have already packed my bags.’

Sir Ian Botham questions the willingness of England players to skip the Ashes tour

England players cast doubts about Covid protocol for this year's series in Australia

England players cast doubts about Covid protocol for this year’s series in Australia

Meanwhile, Michael Holding has accused the ECB of ‘Western arrogance’ for its decision to cancel Pakistan’s Twenty20 tour this month due to the ‘pressure’ of the bubble environment.

The former fast bowler and commentator compared the ECB’s decision to its stand on the Black Lives Matter movement, in which he had decided to take a knee in the summer of 2020 against the West Indies, but dropped it when Pakistan and Australia arrived.

Holding said on the cancellation of Pakistan tour: ‘ECB’s statement is not with me. No substance.

Michael Holding has said that the ECB is arrogant over the decision to cancel Pakistan's T20 tour

Michael Holding has said that the ECB is arrogant over the decision to cancel Pakistan’s T20 tour

‘No one wants to come forward and face anything because they know what they did was wrong. So they hid behind a statement.

‘It just reminds me of the crap they did with Black Lives Matter. The signal it sends me is the same Western ego: I’ll treat you the way I want to treat you, no matter what you think, I’ll do what I want.’

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