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Shane Warne says schedule may have to be revamped due to COVID-19 restrictions


Australian cricket legend Shane Warne says Western Australia may have to accept it won’t have an Ashes Test this summer unless COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Two months out from the scheduled start of the series, there’s still doubt over whether or not England will even send a squad, with the ECB confirming overnight they’ll meet later this week to make a call.

But the schedule remains in a state of flux, with particular concern over the final match, which is due to be played in Perth in January.

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That match is set to begin just five days after the fourth Test finishes in Sydney. Under current border restrictions, it would not be possible for the teams to travel to Western Australia for the match.

“I hope it all goes ahead,” Warne told Nine’s Today.

“The hardest thing for the England players, if they have to quarantine in Australia, that’s fine the first 14 days with their families, Cricket Australia and the government will give them some sort of resort, where they have swimming pools, golf facilities.

“They’re not just stuck in a 4×3 metre room where they have no windows, that I had to do and a lot of other people have had to do, which is just inhumane.”

“It’s hard to make a decision because the states keep changing their rules.”

The Gold Coast appears to be the likely location for players to quarantine on arrival in Australia, making it relatively straightforward for the opening Test in Brisbane to go ahead.

It’s what happens after that that has players concerned. South Australia, which is due to host the second Test, currently has some restrictions in place for travellers who’ve been in Brisbane in the last 14 days.

Only last week Tasmania abandoned a Sheffield Shield match just hours before it was due to begin in Brisbane, instead flying home to Hobart amid fears they’d be caught in a lockdown in Queensland.

It’s the sudden changes to regulations that has the English players worried.

“The first Test is in Brisbane, and then they have to travel to Adelaide or Perth after that, it’s very hard with the regulations, to say they’ll have to do another 14 days quarantine, and then Perth won’t let you in,” Warne said.

“It’s very hard for the England players to make a decision while it’s changing all the time in each state.

“It’s fantastic to have a Test match in every state, but if the WA and Queensland premiers don’t want to let people in, and everyone has to do 14 days quarantine, then they won’t have a Test match.

“They just had an AFL grand final in Perth, I don’t know what the difference is.”

Amid reports England will send an understrength side this summer, the ECB clarified it would only send a squad “befitting a series of this significance” suggesting that if there’s mass withdrawals the tour will be scrapped.

It’s why Warne thinks the schedule may have to be revamped.

“Everyone wants the Ashes to go ahead, I think there’ll be some sort of Ashes,” he said.

“Maybe a couple of Test matches in Sydney, a couple in Melbourne and maybe one somewhere else, maybe Tasmania, whatever states will allow them in after they’ve done the original 14 days quarantine.”

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