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SYDNEY: Under agreed protocol for the upcoming Ashes tour, England cricketers will be able to go to the beach and play golf, which Cricket Australia chief Nick Hawkley said on Monday was never in serious doubt.
The England and Wales Cricket Board gave “conditional approval” to the tour late last week after months of discussions over concerns about the difficult Covid-1 rules for players and their families.
Hawkley said teams should be able to lead normal lives in public during the five-Test series starting in Brisbane in December.
He told the Sydney Daily Telegraph, “Our protocols are very measured to ensure that people have a really great experience and a good life.”
“For the most part, it only comes to people using their common sense.
“It’s not supposed to be a big crowded place, but when they’re on tour, we hope people can play a round of golf, get people off the beach and sit outside and eat.”
In advancing the tour, the ECB said some unspecified issues remained to be resolved before captain Joe Root and his England team boarded the plane.
But Hawkley said it was just a matter of allocating visas, in addition to ongoing biosafety talks, and was adamant that the Ashes was never in danger.
“I don’t think it was ever in serious doubt, but we couldn’t confirm it through all the details until we actually (worked),” he said. “But it’s confirmed now and I think everyone is waiting for cricket to start.”
“Usually all you want to do is get the team sheet and you send it to the travel agent and you’re gone.”
“But we are setting up a charter flight, a monopoly on the entire property, a biosecurity plan for government consideration. That’s a lot of work. And there’s no shortcut.”
The first Test among the old rivals is for Brisbane in December.
But the Perth fixtures are under a cloud, as Western Australia needs to be separated for 14 days when inter-state visitors arrive.
Hawkley said in a separate interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that he believes a deal could be reached with the state government to play in Perth.
“This will be the first Ashes Test at the new (Optus) stadium, it’s a great stadium, we know Perth will be a really big number,” he said.
“So we’re working very actively and constructively to be able to play in Perth which provides a great experience for both set players, but also protects the WA community.”
The current holder of the Australia Ashes after a 2-2 draw with England in 201 England.

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