Mark Wood admits he’d find it ‘very hard’ to travel to Australia for Ashes tour without his family and hints he may have to put his loved ones first as England stars prepare for four months away in Covid bubble
- Mark Wood admits he faces a tough choice over leaving his family for the Ashes
- The fast bowler says it would be ‘very hard’ to be without loved ones in Australia
- England stars face being away for four months due to Australia’s Covid rules
Mark Wood admits serious thought will go into embarking on an Ashes tour without families — and says he would find that hard.
After Sri Lankan breaches returned the conversation to bubble life ahead of a one-day international on his own patch at the Emirates Riverside, the Durham fast bowler hinted England’s cricketers want restrictions to be clarified by mid-September before committing to the trip.
That is when some multi-format players will be asked to head to Bangladesh and Pakistan for warm-up series for the Twenty20 World Cup, which was on Monday confirmed to be taking place in the United Arab Emirates in October and November.
Mark Wood admits he may have to pick family over England ahead of this year’s Ashes tour
As Sportsmail revealed last week, without dispensation from an Australian government that has closed its borders until 2022, some may be apart from loved ones for as long as four months.
‘It would be very hard without family for such a long period of time. With a young son, in a part of his life that’s very important to me, it would be hard,’ Wood said.
‘Their government have been pretty successful in terms of Covid cases so if that’s the way it is, we’ll have to see.’
Behind the scenes, regular discussions have been taking place between the ECB and Cricket Australia regarding the nature of the multi-million-pound tour.
Wood said he would find it ‘very hard’ to be without his loved ones in Australia for so long
The original itinerary was mapped out in March, well in advance of May’s border announcement, and anxiety is developing among the England squad that they may be required to place their professional lives ahead of their personal ones.
Asked whether he would have to think hard about that, Wood said: ‘I’m sure a lot of the players would. We all have to speak. We’re all similar ages, with young families and things, so it will be discussed and it will never be taken lightly.
‘The Ashes is a massive deal. We’ll be going out there to try and win, so we don’t want any distractions.
‘We want to go there clear in what we’re doing — whether it’s in a bubble or whether it’s slightly different. We will need that sorted before we go away, so our minds are on bringing the Ashes back.’
The fast bowler revealed players would have to discuss the issue that faces them Down Under as they prepare for a tour in a Covid bubble
He is less than 30 miles from his Ashington home this week, but the 31-year-old is staying in a hotel due to the region-specific regulations set by England’s Covid officer.
In Cardiff, the team were allowed to wander freely around the city’s docks but due to the high rates of infection in the north-east, the rules have been tightened — banning trips to restaurants or coffee shops.
The flouting of their own Covid protocols has further diluted a Sri Lankan team that is struggling badly against England’s white-ball might.
However, by way of warning, Wood was quick to flag up the shock Sri Lanka victory at Headingley two years ago that threatened to derail the road to World Cup glory for Eoin Morgan and his side.
England stars face being in Australia for up to four months due to the country’s Covid rules
‘When I was growing up, they had some of the greatest names in the game,’ Wood added. ‘Maybe it is a side that is transitional a bit, but they still have some very good players. They beat us in 2019. We were heavy favourites for that game and we lost, so we can’t drop the ball here.’
Of England’s trio of 90-mile-per-hour pacemen, Wood is the only one currently fit, with Olly Stone and Jofra Archer sidelined. Surprisingly, given his injury past, he is also the bowler with the most international appearances in 2021.
Next for Wood is the matter of being back amongst his own, with Chester-le-Street set to host 7,500 spectators today as a government test event.
‘My accent might get a little bit broader when I hear a few fans in the crowd,’ he said.
Home comforts this week, then. But tougher challenges lie ahead.