England bosses have given the green light for this winter’s Ashes tour.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has issued a statement that will pave the way for the blue-chip series to start as scheduled in Brisbane on December 8.
England captain Joe Root last week refused to confirm he would tour Australia, while opposing counterpart Tim Paine had suggested the tourists would pitch up for the series with or without their talisman skipper.
Australia’s rigid Covid-19 restrictions are understood to have caused concerns among England players, but a series of crisis meetings this week appear to have produced progress.
The ECB has given its assent for the tour to go ahead, albeit while insisting “several critical conditions” must be met by the hosts.
“Over recent weeks we have made excellent progress in moving forward on the England Men’s Ashes Tour,” read an ECB statement.
“To facilitate further progress and allow a squad to be selected, the ECB Board has met today and given its approval for the tour to go ahead.
“This decision is subject to several critical conditions being met before we travel.
“We look forward to the ongoing assistance from Cricket Australia in resolving these matters in the coming days.”
England’s schedule had already been thrown into disarray by the ECB cancelling the Pakistan tour slated for October that was due to serve as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The English game’s governing body then had to contend with another body blow when chairman Ian Watmore stood down on Thursday.
All the major players now seem fully aware that the sport’s credibility will be on the line with the status of the Ashes series.
And the ECB’s statement on Friday tees up the marquee contest between the sport’s two oldest rivals to go ahead as planned.