• Saturday, October 16, 2021
India Corona Update 
Total Fatalities 451,814
Total Cases 34,037,592
Today's Fatalities 379
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Pakistan Corona Update 
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Sri Lanka Corona Update 
Total Fatalities 418,480
Total Cases 31,216,337
Today's Fatalities 3,998
Today's Cases 42,015
Bangladesh Corona Update 
Total Fatalities 418,480
Total Cases 31,216,337
Today's Fatalities 3,998
Today's Cases 42,015
UK Corona Update 
Total Fatalities 418,480
Total Cases 31,216,337
Today's Fatalities 3,998
Today's Cases 42,015
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 451,814
Total Cases 34,037,592
Today's Fatalities 379
Today's Cases 16,862

CRICKET

Botham questions England desire for ‘ultimate’ Ashes test

Sir Ian Botham (Photo by David Cannon/General Mills via Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

Ashes hero Ian Botham has questioned England players’ desire to confront the “ultimate test” of touring Australia as cricket chiefs try to hammer out an agreement to allow the trip to go ahead.

England are due to play a five-Test series starting in Brisbane on December 8 but concerns over player welfare and Australia’s strict coronavirus restrictions have plunged the tour into doubt.

Players are understood to harbour fears over quarantine, bubble environments and access for families, with even captain Joe Root refusing to commit so far.

The England and Wales Cricket Board will meet this week to decide whether the Ashes can go ahead, with reports suggesting there have been positive talks with Cricket Australia.

Botham, who triumphed in multiple Ashes campaigns and is recognised as one of England’s greatest players, questioned the mentality of the current crop of cricketers.

“I start to wonder maybe if some of these guys don’t fancy the ultimate test,” the 65-year-old former all-rounder wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“You have to worry about it. To play Test cricket for England is the ultimate and to play against Australia in Australia, and win, is magnificent.

“Australia don’t lose very often in their own backyard. It’s a challenge and if I was in their boots, I’d already have my bags packed.”

Australia has largely sealed its borders to international travellers during the Covid-19 pandemic but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would be “flexible and practical” over the tour.

Multi-format England players potentially face months of travelling and living in biosecure bubbles. The T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman starts on October 17 before the Ashes series in December and January.

Australia are the current holders of the Ashes after retaining the urn following a 2-2 draw in England in 2019. They won the last series “Down Under” 4-0 in 2017/18.

Eastern Eye

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