Prime Minister Boris Johnson pleaded with his Australian counterpart to put conditions in place that allow a full-strength Ashes to go ahead this winter, but Scott Morrison says there will be “no special deals” for England players’ families.The Ashes are due to begin on December 8 but England players – some of whom depart for the T20 World Cup in the UAE early next month – are still in the dark over the conditions of entry to Australia for them and their families. This is leading to reluctance among some players with young families (such as Jos Buttler, who has spoken about the situation) to take part in the tour, which will last more than 10 weeks once quarantine on arrival in Australia is taken into account. Others, such as Stuart Broad and James Anderson, have declared their intention to tour, but it was hoped that the lay of the land would be shared with the embattled England and Wales Cricket Board by the end of this week. It seems likely that families will be permitted to travel, but whether quarantine conditions would be practical in light of school Christmas holidays is another matter.Australia has taken a radically different approach to managing Covid-19 to the UK, allowing very little entry to the country until a slow vaccine rollout sees 80 per cent of the population double-jabbed, meaning thousands of Australians are stuck overseas. PM Morrison says that figure will hit 50 per cent this week, with some states in lockdown and riots taking place in Melbourne over the vaccine. The two Prime Ministers had dinner in Washington DC on Tuesday. "I raised the Ashes and he said they were going to do their best for the families," Johnson said. "He totally got the point that for cricketers it is very tough to ask people to be away from their families over Christmas."He merely undertook to come back and see if he could find a solution."Morrison, however, seemed to see things slightly different, comparing cricketers – whose absence would leave a huge hole in Cricket Australia’s finances – to “skilled workers and students”."I would love to see the Ashes go ahead, as I shared with Boris last night,” he said. "But there's no special deals there, because what we're looking to have is vaccinated people being able to travel."I don't see a great deal of difference in skilled workers or students who will be able to come to Australia when you reach those vaccination rates."Those who are coming for that purpose when it comes to their profession, which is playing cricket, I don't see the difference between that and someone who's coming as a skilled, qualified engineer or someone who's coming to be ready for study."
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