Joe Root insists he is ‘desperate’ to go on what could be his last Ashes tour but will not yet guarantee he will lead England to Australia this winter.
The England captain was named PCA men’s player of the year on Tuesday for his sublime form at a time when uncertainly and turmoil surrounds his team and the game.
Not least confusion over the biggest Test series of them all which sees the England players yet to know the quarantine conditions under which they and, if allowed in, their families will have to live during more than two months in Australia.
That uncertainty will drag on at least into next week after Sportsmail revealed on Sunday that ECB have not yet shared those tour conditions proposed by Cricket Australia with Root and his anxious players.
And the precarious nature of trying to stage cricket in a country with such a strict Covid policy was underlined on Tuesday when Tasmania withdrew their Sheffield Shield squad from matches in Brisbane because of just four new virus cases in Queensland.
Until Root has seen exactly what’s on the table in Australia, which includes the probable switching of the final Test from Perth to Hobart, he cannot be sure how many of his players will join Moeen Ali, who retired from Test cricket this week, in pulling out of the Ashes. And that includes the captain himself.
‘We are still waiting for information,’ said Root. ‘It’s a little bit frustrating but it’s where we are at. It’s hard to know what will happen until we find out what conditions will be like. It’s very difficult at this stage to know where everything sits.’
Clearly Root is hoping all the obstacles are cleared to enable him to embark on his third and surely last chance to lift the urn as England captain.
‘I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that Ashes cricket and an away tour of Australia is one of those things you’re desperate to be on,’ he said.
‘It could be the last chance I get to go so of course I want to be there. I’m desperate to try to make history over there and be part of something special.’
But the England captain stopped short of committing to the trip and setting an example for his players to follow. ‘It’s hard to make a definite decision until we know what it looks like,’ said Root.
‘Once that information comes through we can have more clarity.
‘It will be important everyone makes a decision they’re comfortable with. There are so many different factors that fall into this and we just have to be patient. When we know what’s happening we can make a decision on the back of it.’