Scott Morrison rejects Boris Johnson’s personal plea to relax England cricket quarantine rules

The English cricketers and their families will get ‘no special deals’ on quarantine for the Ashes, the Australian Prime Minister has warned.

Scott Morrison suggested that the players were no different than skilled workers or students, so they had to isolate themselves.

But Boris Johnson sounded more positive, saying Mr Morrison had promised he would “see if he could find a solution.”

The pair tried to strike a deal when they met in Washington DC – after their trips to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

English stars such as Captain Joe Root are tired of the bubble fatigue and the prospect of further restrictions in Australia.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) have been in talks all year, but a breakthrough is yet to come.

Scott Morrison (pictured with Boris Johnson in the US on Tuesday) suggested that the players were no different than skilled workers or students, so they should isolate themselves

Scott Morrison (pictured with Boris Johnson in the US on Tuesday) suggested that the players were no different than skilled workers or students, so they should isolate themselves

England cricket captain Joe Root (pictured with wife Carrie Cotterell) could lead an understrength squad for the Ashes in Australia this summer

England cricket captain Joe Root (pictured with wife Carrie Cotterell) could lead an understrength squad for the Ashes in Australia this summer

England cricket captain Joe Root (pictured with wife Carrie Cotterell) could lead an understrength squad for the Ashes in Australia this summer

Stuart Broad (pictured with fiancé Mollie King) has confirmed he will be touring but understands other teammates will stay at home

Stuart Broad (pictured with fiancé Mollie King) has confirmed he will be touring but understands other teammates will stay at home

Stuart Broad (pictured with fiancé Mollie King) has confirmed he will be touring but understands other teammates will stay at home

Morrison said: ‘I would like to see the Ashes continue, as I have shared with Boris. But there are no special offers.

“I don’t see much difference between skilled workers or students, who can come to Australia if you get the vaccination coverage.”

Morrison reiterated that international travel would resume with an 80 percent double dose vaccination coverage for more than 16 years.

But when asked about the talks yesterday, the British Prime Minister sounded more positive.

Mr Johnson told reporters: “I raised it and he said he would do his best for the families.

“He fully understands that it is very difficult for cricketers to ask people to be away from their families for Christmas.”

He added: “He just promised to come back and see if he could find a solution.”

The pair had dinner after the military pact they made with the US infuriated France as it led Canberra to cancel a lucrative deal to supply submarines.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured in New York) said Scott Morrison told him over dinner that he will “seek a solution” for England’s players and their families ahead of the Ashes which kicks off in Brisbane in November.

Controversial Australian batsman Steve Smith (pictured in January) and his Australian teammates aim to play a full-strength England XI in the Ashes

Controversial Australian batsman Steve Smith (pictured in January) and his Australian teammates aim to play a full-strength England XI in the Ashes

Controversial Australian batsman Steve Smith (pictured in January) and his Australian teammates aim to play a full-strength England XI in the Ashes

CA’s effort to finalize quarantine and biosecurity plans that will satisfy all parties, including Queensland’s risk-averse state government, has proved difficult.

There is hope that the coming weeks will bring a breakthrough in talks between the ECB and its Test players, bringing a nearly full squad for the iconic series.

England’s quarantine concessions will be determined by the state they reside in, with the itinerary presumably starting with quarantine on the Gold Coast.

But the ECB is at the mercy of the federal government regarding the size of its itinerant party and access to Australia, including questions about relatives evicting.

Several English stars are hesitant about the trip, as they can be away from their families for up to three months over Christmas.

Stuart Broad said last week that he will fly to Australia but understood that if teammates opt out of the tour, arguing that CA had provided ‘minimal details’ about restrictions.

It comes after England was accused of ‘failing a member of the cricket fraternity in need’ after withdrawing from next month’s tour of Pakistan.

Despite Pakistan playing here in bio-secure conditions last year, it kept the ECB from making huge losses.

It was agreed that England would play their first caps in Pakistan in 16 years, only for the ECB to say it “sincerely regrets the impact” their decision would have.

England Cricket added that bosses remain committed to a full tour of Pakistan in 2022.

It follows New Zealand’s lead, after the southern country withdrew from its tour due to security concerns.

England has been accused of abandoning Pakistan after it withdrew from next month's T20 tour

England has been accused of abandoning Pakistan after it withdrew from next month's T20 tour

England has been accused of abandoning Pakistan after it withdrew from next month’s T20 tour

The drastic decision comes after New Zealand's hasty departure last week for security reasons

The drastic decision comes after New Zealand's hasty departure last week for security reasons

The drastic decision comes after New Zealand’s hasty departure last week for security reasons

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja tweeted: ‘Disappointed in England, withdrawing from their engagement and abandoning a member of their cricket fraternity when it was most needed.

‘We will survive. A wake-up call for Pak team to become the best team in the world so that teams can queue up to play against them without apologies.”

He added to Sky Sports: “It’s disappointing to say the least because now it was time for England to help, hold our hand because that’s what our little cricket brotherhood does.

“It’s unfortunate and disappointing because it can have a knock-on effect.

New Zealand has pulled out due to a bizarre security threat that has not been shared with our security forces.

And now England has decided to withdraw. Whatever sacrifices we have made to help the Covid situation seem to have disappeared. We have learned a hard lesson.

“It’s bizarre. When it comes to the Pakistani Super League, all these English players like to travel, but as a group they are shocked by the situation and unwilling to share it.

‘It’s extremely frustrating. We are a resilient cricket nation, we will survive. You just feel cheated.’

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has launched a stabbing attack, admitting he now feels 'cheated'

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has launched a stabbing attack, admitting he now feels 'cheated'

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has launched a stabbing attack, admitting he now feels ‘cheated’

Initially it was agreed that England would play their first internationals in 16 years in Pakistan

Initially it was agreed that England would play their first internationals in 16 years in Pakistan

Initially it was agreed that England would play their first internationals in 16 years in Pakistan

A high-level security threat targeting New Zealand players saw their Pakistan tour cancelled

A high-level security threat targeting New Zealand players saw their Pakistan tour cancelled

A high-level security threat targeting New Zealand players saw their Pakistan tour cancelled

Raja criticized the “western bloc” of the 2019 World Cup finalists and Australia for “not accepting us as theirs” and said the PCB will now “only go as far as is in our best interest”.

He said: ‘I am deeply disappointed in England’s withdrawal, but it was to be expected as this Western bloc is unfortunately uniting and trying to support each other.

‘This [England’s withdrawal] was expected but this is a lesson for us as we go out of our way to accommodate and spoil these parties when they visit.

“And when we go there, we undergo strict quarantines and tolerate their admonitions, but there’s a lesson in this.

‘That means that from now on we will only go as far as is in our interest. Our interest is that cricket doesn’t stop in our country and if the cricket club doesn’t take care of each other there’s no point.

New Zealand, then England, now we have a West Indies series that can also be hit, and Australia, which is already reconsidering.

“This – England, Australia, New Zealand – is all one block. Who can we complain to? We thought they were ours, but they didn’t accept us as theirs.’

Eoin Morgan’s squad would play two Twenty20s in Rawalpindi on October 14 and 15 and the England women would play in five games.

But the trip was canceled 72 hours after New Zealand responded to a high-level security threat targeting their players by canceling their tour at the last minute.

In a statement, the ECB confirmed that its board had met this weekend and had decided to withdraw.

It read: ‘The mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our top priority.

“We know there are growing concerns about travel to the region and believe that continuing will put even more pressure on a group that has already endured a long period of working in confined Covid environments.

“We believe that touring under these conditions will not be an ideal preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority.”

The cancellation will not cost the ECB financially as it was a goodwill tour and was not part of international cricket’s Future Tours programme.

  • England’s five-Test series against Australia is scheduled to start in Brisbane on December 8, while the women’s Ashes kicks off on January 27 in Canberra

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