England’s cricketers have polarised opinion on talkSPORT by reportedly threatening to pull out of the Ashes if their families can’t travel to Australia this winter.
From September onward, England’s multi-format cricketers face the prospect of months in quarantine.
Tours of Pakistan and Bangladesh are followed by the T20 World Cup – and the likes of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler will likely fly straight from the UAE to Australia in November.
Unless restrictions change, it appears certain that only players and staff will be allowed into Australia, forcing families to stay at home for the tour, which runs through to January.
And according to The Times, a number of key players have told the management they will have to consider pulling out of some or all of the Ashes series unless a solution can be found.
England have been rotating their various squads throughout the pandemic to give everyone a break from the bubble, although it is likely they will want most of their key men for what is an important stretch of cricket.
Reacting to the news on talkSPORT, former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara hit out at any sportsperson who would turn down an Ashes series for such reasons.
He said: “It’s four months. You have a very short career as a sportsperson.
“You can have your family for the rest of your life. You might only get one Ashes tour.
“OK, you’re away from your family, but there are loads of people who have to spend time away from their families and work abroad. They get on with it.
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“Suck it up! You’re representing your country. You’re telling me that you’re going to turn down an Ashes series because you can’t bring your missus out?
“You don’t want to play in the Ashes, the biggest series in the world for cricket, because you want to go home and see your missus? Drop me out. Come on.
“Here’s a plane ticket, get yourself off and don’t come back.”
However, former England captain Nasser Hussain sided with the players when he joined talkSPORT earlier.
The Sky Sports pundit highlighted the need to appreciate just how much time the country’s cricketers have already spent away from young families since the pandemic began.
Hussain said: “I would fully, fully support the England players. They have spent enough time in bubbles, enough time away from families.
“A lot of those cricketers have young families that they spend weeks away from in hotels and quarantined.
“I have a lot of sympathy with them. You play your best cricket when you are happy away from cricket. Not when you’re locked in a hotel room missing your wife and family.
“It’s not an easy situation, it’s a nightmare situation. England have been hardest hit because of the amount of time they’ve been on the road.”