Ashes 2021-22: Tim Paine expects ‘really strong’ England side to commit for upcoming Ashes

The Ashes 2021-22 is scheduled to start on December 8 with the first Test match at the Gabba, Brisbane. However, it remains to be seen whether the visiting England side will tour Australia or not with strict quarantine rules in place.

Notably, England players, particularly those with young children, have a fear that their families may not be allowed to travel Down Under because of strict Australian border controls. As a result, they might opt out of the tour.

Amid the speculations, Australia’s Test skipper Tim Paine on Friday (October 8) said he expects a “really strong” England side to commit to the Ashes, revealing that he had been in contact with Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding the series.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was due to meet this week, and Paine said the feedback he had received was positive.

“Positive news is that I’m hearing a lot of their players will commit,” he said on SEN sports radio, where he has a regular weekly segment.

“There might be one or two that don’t, but I think we will see a really strong England side come out here as we would want as players and as Australian fans.”

Asked if he had ever been concerned about the Ashes 2021-22 not going ahead, Paine said: “My understanding, as I said, behind the scenes was that both boards were working really hard together to make sure it would go ahead, so I was pretty comfortable with it.

“My belief still is that the first Test will be December 8.”

Last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had raised the issue with his Australian counterpart, and Paine said he too had been in touch with Morrison.

“He always touches base,” Paine said. “He was keen to find out what the sticking points might be from a player’s perspective. I shared a few text messages with, I suppose, the boss. He loves his cricket.”

Apart from Brisbane, Adelaide (December 16-20), Melbourne (December 26-30), Sydney (January 5-9), and Perth (January 14-18) are slated to host the Ashes Test.