Officials from England’s cricket team will announce whether or not the scheduled Ashes series in Australia will take place this week. The tour is in jeopardy because of pandemic-related limitations in Australia.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday (October 4) that it has regular and good communication with Cricket Australia regarding the plans for an Ashes visit, with health and wellness at the top of the agenda. The ECB stated that it will continue to communicate with its players this week to give the most up-to-date facts and solicit comments.

The statement comes after Australia Test captain Tim Paine claimed last week that he “didn’t care” who made the tour and that the Ashes would go on “whether Joe Root is here or not.”

England players, who have recently been without Ben Stokes (who is on an indefinite suspension for mental health reasons) and have been jaded from 18 months in biosecure bubbles, were unimpressed with Paine’s statements. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, no men’s team has played more than England’s 53 all-format matches. During this time, Australia has not played a single Test outside of Australia.

After the T20 World Cup – the final is on November 14 – the entire squad will be reunited for three weeks of training and intra-squad matches before the first Test in Brisbane on December 8.

The tour will next travel to Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, with the venue of the fifth Test, which is presently scheduled to begin on 14 January in Perth, still up in the air due to Western Australia’s strict inter-state quarantine restrictions.