• Ashes could be played in front of ‘full crowds’

    Cricket Australia is hopeful of staging an Ashes series in front of full crowds later this year but stresses it would follow government advice when it comes to admitting travelling supporters as the schedule for the England’s men’s and women’s tours was released this week.

    The five-Test men’s Ashes will start in Brisbane on 8 December before a day/night match in Adelaide. The traditional Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will then take place.

    Sydney, however, will be the venue for the fourth Test, rather than the series finale as has been customary, with the fifth Test at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

    Both those latter two matches are scheduled for January.

    Australia lost 2-1 at home to India in a memorable four-Test series played in front of reduced crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic between November 2020 and January this year.

    Non-essential travel to Australia from the UK is not currently permitted as a result of Covid-19.

    ‘The lessons learned from successfully delivering a safe summer in 2020-21 gives us confidence on what we’re able to achieve, and we’re all hoping for a summer of full crowds and an Ashes atmosphere we’re all accustomed to,’ said Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s interim chief executive.

    ‘In a perfect world, we would welcome England fans back to these shores for a summer of singing and sportsmanship. Of course, we will be guided by the Australian government on all things related to international travel.’

    The England men’s warm-up schedule, ahead of the Ashes, will be announced in due course.

    Meanwhile a multi-format series between the England and Australia women will start with a one-off Test in Canberra from 27-30 January, followed by three T20Is and three ODIs.

    ‘2022 is going to be an amazing year for women’s cricket,” said England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison.

    ‘With an Ashes, a World Cup in New Zealand and a home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, this could be a landmark year for our team.’

    Australia hold the men’s Ashes following a 2-2 draw in England in 2019, when their women’s side won the corresponding series by the emphatic margin of 12 points to four.


    Men’s Ashes 2021-22

    Dec 8-12: 1st Test, Gabba, Brisbane

    Dec 16-20: 2nd Test, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (day/night)

    Dec 26-30: 3rd Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

    Jan 5-9: 4th Test, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

    Jan 14-18: 5th Test, Optus Stadium, Perth

    Women’s Ashes

    Jan 27-30: Test, Manuka Oval, Canberra

    Feb 4: 1st T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney

    Feb 6: 2nd T20I, North Sydney Oval

    Feb 10: 3rd T20I, Adelaide Oval

    Feb 13: 1st ODI, Adelaide Oval

    Feb 16: 2nd ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne

    Feb 19: 3rd ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne

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    Craig Lewis