Australia captain Paine expecting 'really strong' England for Ashes

Australia captain Tim Paine is expecting a ‘really strong’ England squad to be named for winter Ashes tour… despite ongoing concerns of sporting bubbles among Joe Root’s men

  • Reports suggest Joe Root has committed to captaining England in Australia 
  • But player concerns about spending time away from their families still exist 
  • Jos Buttler in particular is believed to be undecided about playing in the Ashes
  • But Tim Paine is expecting a ‘really strong’ England to turn up Down Under

Tim Paine claims he is expecting a ‘really strong’ England side to face his Australia team during the Ashes series this winter.

Reports suggest Joe Root has committed to captaining England Down Under, and that a full-strength squad are set to travel with him to try and wrestle the Ashes off the hosts.

But player concerns about spending more time away from their families in bubbles and quarantine are still believed to exist among a number of players, particularly those like Root and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler who have young families.

Australia captain Tim Paine expects to be taking on a ‘really strong’ England in the Ashes

Joe Root (right) has reportedly committed to captaining England for the five-match Test series

However, Australia captain and glovesman Paine has revealed he has been informed plenty of England’s first-choice Test players will make the tour.

‘I’m hearing a lot of their players will commit,’ Paine told SEN Radio.

‘There might be one or two that don’t, but I think we’ll see a really strong England side come out here.’

Paine also admitted he had spoken with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and gave him a player’s perspective on the current points of concern regarding the pandemic. 

‘He was keen to find out what the sticking points might be from a player’s perspective,’ said Paine of his conversations with Morrison.

Paine revealed he spoke to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison about player concerns

‘I shared a few text messages with him. He loves his cricket.’

Paine’s comments come just a week after he bullishly claimed the Ashes would go ahead despite former ECB chairman Ian Watmore declaring earlier that week that the tour remained in doubt.

‘The Ashes are going ahead. The first Test is on December 8 – whether Joe is here or not,’ Paine told radio station SEN Hobart.

‘It’ll be worked out above us and then they’ll have a choice whether to get on that plane or not.

‘No one is forcing any England player to come. That’s the beauty of the world we live in – you have a choice. If you don’t want to come, don’t come.’

Paine bullishly declared the Ashes would go ahead last week without any official confirmation

Players like veteran fast bowlers Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, as well as Essex batter Dan Lawrence have publicly revealed they are willing to travel.

But Jos Buttler, whose wife Louise gave birth to their second daughter Margot last month, has said he won’t tour if he has to spend months away from his family.

The ECB received quarantine proposals and ‘bubble’ restrictions for the tour from Cricket Australia on September 24 and immediately emailed their players to inform them they would be updated within 10 days.

That timeframe provided the ECB with the opportunity to negotiate with CA for alterations. Only once they had a final picture of the environment the players will be asked to live in for 11 weeks was it shared.

Jos Buttler in particularly is said to be undecided about whether to travel to Australia

So far, Moeen Ali is the only England player to officially pull out after announcing his retirement from Test cricket.

The players are set to travel out next month, and their families will also be allowed to join them for Christmas, spending their two-week quarantine at the picturesque Yarra Valley wine region near Melbourne.

The Ashes are set to begin in exactly two months, with the first Test is scheduled to get underway at The Gabba in Brisbane.

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