Reports that England families to receive no COVID exemptions from Australian PM

Scott Morrison

Ollie Phillips

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, will grant no particular travel exemptions to the families of England players ahead of this winter's Ashes down under, BBC Sport has reported. Boris Johnson had previously asked that family members be permitted to travel in an effort to ensure the series goes ahead as conventionally as possible, with some players expressing doubts over their involvement if they are unable to see their loved ones for up to four months, should they partake in the IPL or T20 World Cup in October.

It is understood that the two had dinner in Washington on Wednesday night, where both expressed their hopes for cricket's oldest rivalry to be renewed under the best possible circumstances. But Morrison stressed the need for his country to reach a vaccination target of 80% of the population, a figure unlikely to be achieved by the start of the first Test in December given it currently sits at 50%.

Up to ten of England's likely touring party have suggested they would be reluctant to make the trip to Australia in the current situation, and Morrison's comments will do little to settle their doubts. There is, at least, some clarity being offered on the issue, and both camps can alter their preparations accordingly with some time in hand. Given the financial weight of the series and logistical nightmare that would ensue were it to be moved, it seems the Test matches will indeed be played, albeit perhaps with adjusted personnel.