England fast bowler Stuart Broad has said he will be willing to tour Australia later this year for the Ashes series and has urged honchos at the England & Wales Cricket Board to negotiate acceptable arrangements for the team that'll give them the best chance to be mentally strong and comfortable enough to compete in the series.
The 35-year-old fast bowler, who is recovering from a calf injury, ruled out the possibility of the tour getting cancelled completely even if there is a chance of high-profile players pulling out of the tour.
“If you ask me if I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia in November, I would say yes. I am working tirelessly to get there,” Broad wrote in his column in the Daily Mail. “I don't feel there will be a postponement. In my mind, it is 100 percent clear that an England team of some description will embark on the tour.
“But if another player called me and told me they couldn't commit, I would totally accept it. Everyone has to make their own decision and Ashley Giles, England's director of cricket, has made it clear a player's chances of selection in the future will not be harmed if they opt out in these circumstances.”
Even as ECB and their counterparts in Cricket Australia are engaged in discussions about the details of quarantine, access and living arrangements during the tour, Broad said the players themselves aren't aware of the current picture.
“The ECB have tried to keep us as informed as possible with the information that they are getting from Cricket Australia,” Broad said. “It's just that minimal detail has been available. I don't think anyone can say hand on heart that we won't be living in a bubble out there and that will be extremely challenging.”
Cricket Australia will have the final say on the terms of the tour based on how much they can negotiate from their governments following a new surge of cases in Victoria and New South Wales. And even though restrictions are expected to ease by November when England are scheduled to reach, Broad is under no illusion that they can do away without a period of quarantine.
“With the situation Australia is in — with their own citizens struggling to get into the country — I am not thinking we will just be able to fly in with no quarantining, as if we are living a normal life, because the world is not a normal place at the moment,” Broad wrote.
“We need to be in a situation where we are allowed to train for between two and three hours a day. An international bowler rarely goes two weeks in a year without bowling.
“My message to our bosses at the ECB is simple: Give us the best possible chance to be mentally strong come January with the environment that is created. Let's try to make it as comfortable as possible for us because if you go somewhere like Australia and have to bunker down, you won't enjoy being in one of the greatest places on earth – and aren't going to win at cricket either.”