Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns is in an intensive care unit in a Sydney hospital after undergoing further heart surgery.

Cairns suffered a "major medical event" in Canberra late last week and initially underwent an operation in the capital city.

The 51-year-old's wife, Melanie, on Wednesday revealed he has been transferred to St Vincent's hospital in Sydney, where has had undergone another operation.

"As has now been widely reported in the media, Chris suffered a major medical event in Canberra late last week," she said in a statement.

"He initially underwent surgery in Canberra, but the seriousness of his condition is such that he has now been transferred to St Vincent's hospital in Sydney, where he has undergone further cardiovascular surgery.

"Chris' family and friends are heartened by the respectful and warm manner in which this terrible news has been reported, and received by the public, both in New Zealand and around the world, and thank everyone for their warm wishers, prayers and kind words.

"For now, no further statements will be make regarding Chris' situation, and the Cairns family asks that people continue to respect their privacy as they deal with this difficult, upsetting and concerning situation."

New Zealand Cricket CEO David White said: "We're deeply concerned to hear of Chris Cairns' medical emergency.

"Our thoughts are with his family in Australia and here in New Zealand. Chris is a much-loved husband, father, and son - and remains one of our finest all-rounders. We hope he's able to make a full recovery."

Cairns played 62 Tests, 215 ODis and two Twenty20 games for the Black Caps between 1989 and 2006.

Moeen Ali has been added to England's squad for the second Test against India, which starts at Lord's on Thursday.

The hosts escaped with a draw in last week's opener at Trent Bridge, thanks to rain on the final day and the stunning exploits of captain Joe Root – whose 64 and 109 made him the only England player to pass 50 in either innings.

Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen last featured at Test level against India in February, with his previous home outing coming in the 2019 Ashes.

He gives Root and coach Chris Silverwood the option of offering greater balance to the bowling attack while also bolstering that flimsy batting card.

England named a four-man, all-seam attack in Ben Stokes' absence last time out, despite the presence of off-spinner Dom Bess and slow left-armer Jack Leach in a sizeable squad that Moeen's inclusion now swells to 18.

The 34-year-old has been captaining Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural Hundred and struck 59 off 28 balls in a dominant 93-run win over Welsh Fire on Monday.

He was in a similarly belligerent mood when smashing an 18-ball 43 in a losing cause in Chennai earlier this year, although the most recent of his five Test centuries came in December 2016.

 

That was also against India and it is likely Moeen's success with the ball against Virat Kohli's men is the driving factor in his recall. In 13 Tests against England's current opponents, he has 49 wickets at an average of 31.91.

If he plays at Lord's, Moeen is unlikely to be the only change. Haseeb Hameed is in contention to step into a misfiring top order, with Zak Crawley the leading candidate to make way.

Ollie Pope missed the opening Test due to a thigh injury and could return, while fast bowler Mark Wood might come into the reckoning after Sam Curran and Stuart Broad took one wicket between them at Trent Bridge.

 

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Mark Wood.

India captain Virat Kohli and England counterpart Joe Root both agreed rain had ruined the prospect of a fascinating final day in the first Test.

No play was possible on Sunday in Nottingham due to bad weather, with India having been due to resume their second innings on 52-1 in pursuit of a target of 209.

Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara had helped the tourists come through a tricky 14-over spell late on day four, the only setback for India being the departure of KL Rahul for 26.

Despite the disappointment on not being able to capitalise on the opportunity to push for victory, Kohli was pleased with the way his team had performed at the start of the five-match series.

"We were expecting rain on days three and four, then it chooses to arrive on day five," Kohli lamented in his post-match interview with Sky Sports.

"We thought we were in a good position to have a crack at the target. It would have been a really nice, interesting day of Test cricket, one that would have been enjoyable to watch and certainly enjoyable to be a part of, so it's a shame.

"This is exactly what we wanted to do – we wanted to start strong. Heading into day five, we felt like we had our chances in front of us.

"One good partnership and you know what happens when there's only 150-odd to defend.

"It certainly felt like we were on top in the game, we bowled well enough and batted well enough to stay in the contest, then getting that lead was crucial."

Root had made sure India did not have a straightforward task batting last, his 21st Test century giving England's bowlers something to work with. He had faith in his attack to create opportunities, too, only for persistent downpours to put paid to the home side's hopes.

"It was a great Test match. I think the weather has robbed us of what could have been a very exciting final day," Root told Sky Sports.

"It bodes well for the rest of the series. Hopefully we can take some of the good stuff out of this week into the rest of it.

"Having spent a lot of time on that wicket, it felt like there were going to be nine opportunities within play. It was just making sure we were smart to get the game to go long enough.

"It felt like there was going to be that opportunity there, it's just a shame the weather won today."

Root pipped Jasprit Bumrah to the player of the match award, the latter having taken nine wickets in the contest as India's decision to pick just the one spinner worked out.

Kohli revealed that it is likely they will continue with the same policy in the remainder of the trip, starting with the second Test at Lord's.

"Most likely it will be the template for the rest of the series, but adaptability has been a strength of ours, especially when we've played away from home," he said.

"We need to adapt quickly, according to what is in front of us. Pitches, conditions, pace of the wicket and so on, but this looks like the right template moving forward.

"It’s going to be an exciting series to watch and be part of – England-India is always a blockbuster. Expect a lot of exciting cricket ahead."

No play was possible on the final day of the first Test between England and India, with persistent rain in Nottingham wiping out the possibility of an intriguing finish to the series opener.

India had been due to resume their second innings on 52-1 requiring a further 157 for victory, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara the unbeaten batsmen with both on 12 not out.

However, the players never made it out onto the field as bad weather at Trent Bridge meant an absorbing contest, one that had ebbed and flowed through the four previous days, finished in a rather disappointing draw.

England had set their opponents 209 thanks mainly to an outstanding century from captain Joe Root, his 21st in Test cricket but first on home soil since September 2018.

Jasprit Bumrah's five-wicket haul made sure India were not chasing too many, with the tourists only losing opener KL Rahul – caught behind off the bowling of Stuart Broad for 26 – in a tricky 14-over spell prior to the close on Saturday.

Yet the English weather had the last word on proceedings, meaning the teams remain at 0-0 in the five-match series as the focus quickly switches to the second Test, which begins at Lord's on Thursday.

Joe Root hit a superb hundred to offer hope for England but India are in pole position to win an absorbing first Test heading into the final day in Nottingham.

Captain Root made 109 – his 21st Test ton but first on home soil since September 2018 – to underpin England's second-innings total of 303, Jasprit Bumrah restricting their advantage with 5-64.

Left needing 209 for victory in the series opener, India lost KL Rahul for 26 in a tricky session but reached stumps on 52-1, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara both on 12 not out.

England had resumed in the morning on 25 without loss with a considerable deficit still to deal with, the hosts eventually moving in front for the loss of Rory Burns (18) and Zak Crawley (six).

In cricket's version of the tortoise and the hare, the imperious Root raced past the dogged Dom Sibley during a third-wicket stand worth 89. The alliance came to an end when the latter played an uncharacteristically loose drive having reached 28, an inside edge off Bumrah well caught by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

Jonny Bairstow looked in excellent touch in reaching 30 but a pull shot only found Ravindra Jadeja in the deep, while Shardul Thakur removed both Dan Lawrence (25) and Jos Buttler (17), who was bowled offering no stroke, either side of tea.

Root eventually fell to the second new ball, with England slipping from 274-6 following the departure of their talismanic leader.

Bumrah sent back Sam Curran, who made a useful 32, and Stuart Broad with successive deliveries to get his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests, Mohammed Shami then claiming the final wicket as Ollie Robinson was caught at third man for 15.

Broad struck a much-needed blow when Rahul was caught behind, yet that was England's solitary success with the ball in 14 overs prior to the close.

 

Root digs in again

Root underlined his immense importance to England with a fourth Test century in 2021. He is the only player to pass 1,000 runs in the format in the calendar year, aided by making two double centuries during England's busy winter schedule.

This memorable knock spanned 172 deliveries and included 14 boundaries, one of which was a glorious straight drive that saw him reach three figures. He began celebrating before the ball had crossed the rope, raising both arms aloft.

India lean on brilliant Bumrah

Bumrah missed out on a five-wicket haul in the first innings but made sure he reached the landmark second time around, meaning he will finish with match figures of 9-110.

The pace bowler certainly likes playing at Trent Bridge, having claimed 5-85 at the venue on India's 2018 tour to help his team clinch victory on that occasion. He will hope to be on the winning side again this time too, provided his batsmen can finish the job on Sunday.

KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and a wagging tail helped India to a 70-run first-innings lead on a rain-affected day three of the first Test against England at Trent Bridge.

Opener Rahul built on his overnight half-century to top score with 84 and he and all-rounder Jadeja (56) combined in a vital 60-run stand for the sixth wicket that took Virat Kohli's side past the tourists' 183 all out.

Ollie Robinson continued his impressive start to life on the field in Test cricket with 5-85, while James Anderson's 4-54 moved him above Anil Kumble and up to third on the all-time wickets list in the longest format.

Jaspit Bumrah swung merrily for 28 but he and his fellow India seamers were unable to make inroads as Rory Burns (11 not out) and Dom Sibley (9 not out) reached 25-0 before the weather heralded an early close.

Rishabh Pant's curious 20-ball 25 came to an end when he skewed an ugly shot to Jonny Bairstow at cover off Robinson, immediately after a slashed four through the slips and a top-edged six.

Rahul's knock was far from chanceless, with some slapdash running and Anderson having him dropped by Sibley and skipper Joe Root in the cordon.

The veteran paceman had his man when Rahul edged a full one through to Jos Buttler with the score on 205 and Root atoned by clinging on to remove Shardul Thakur for nought in Anderson's next over.

Jadeja started to put his foot down, clouting Anderson for six and sending Robinson twice to the fence through the offside as he passed 50, only to give Stuart Broad a spiralling catch from the final ball of the 75th over.

Bumrah produced an old-fashioned cavalier tailend knock, going four, six, four from consecutive Sam Curran deliveries before being the last man out on 278 – Broad again the catcher as Robinson claimed his maiden five-for with India's lead 95.

If the Sussex seamer looks easily at home at this level, the same cannot often be said for England's top order, but Burns and Sibley negotiated 11.1 overs unscathed. Then the rain, perhaps the most significant threat to an India victory in Nottingham, returned.

Pant pulled down

If the Australian tour version of Rishabh Pant - whose bravura 89 not out secured a sensational series win and the man-of-the-match award at the Gabba in January - had turned up in Nottingham, India could really have made England suffer. In reality, they got a man playing several shots at every ball who seemed to have limited interest in the serious business of Test batting.

Having been lucky to survive an examination from Anderson on day two, Pant decided to plough merrily on. "That's just the way he plays" is no defence for such nonsense from a man so talented. Pant has superstar billing and is much, much better than this.

Robinson lets his cricket to the talking

Historic racist and sexist tweets understandably took all the focus off Robinson's efforts on the field during his Test debut against New Zealand in June and a ban duly followed. Back in the fold and suitably contrite, the rangy seamer struck up a master and apprentice partnership with Anderson of the highest quality on Friday.

It will understandably take Robinson some time to be embraced as any kind of fans' favourite after his misdemeanours but he looks born to play Test cricket – perhaps especially on the bouncy tracks that await England in Australia at the end of the year.

Two James Anderson wickets helped England wrestle back some control on the second day of the first Test against India at Trent Bridge.

A dismal day one batting display saw the hosts all out for 183 before India made 21 without loss in reply.

But a productive spell either side of lunch on Thursday, led by bowling great Anderson, brought Joe Root's men back into the reckoning.

Anderson removed Cheteshwar Pujara and old foe Virat Kohli in quick succession, although bad light and rain soon intervened and allowed India to reach the end of play on 125-4.

The tourists had withstood early England pressure and looked on course to finish the first session still unbeaten until Ollie Robinson's short ball – the final delivery before lunch – tempted Rohit Sharma to pick out Sam Curran at the boundary.

Anderson maintained England's momentum following the restart with two wickets in as many balls, including a popular golden duck for captain Kohli, who edged behind.

KL Rahul reached fifty as India sought to regroup, only to then have partner Ajinkya Rahane run out by a clinical direct hit from Jonny Bairstow.

Dom Sibley put down Rishabh Pant from a simple chance and rain fell to further frustrate a resurgent England, who returned twice – first for a single ball and then for two – before heading back to the dressing room again, with play eventually abandoned.

A TIMELY BOWLING BOOST

England were on course to reach the end of the morning session without reward and worse news would great supporters during the interval, with confirmation Jofra Archer will miss the rest of the year, including the Ashes tour of Australia.

How Root could have used the paceman's inspiration as his side started to toil again, staring down the barrel of a fifth defeat in six Tests in their worst barren run since 2018.

Robinson's much-needed breakthrough, in his second match at this level, belatedly provided cause for optimism.

MILESTONE MADE IN STYLE

Anderson's second wicket took him level with Anil Kumble on 619 in Tests, the third-most in history. Of those, 120 have come against India – his most against any team and the most by any player in the men's format – and six have come against Kohli, although this was the first in their rivalry since 2014.

The wicket brought relief then for Anderson, while it was Kohli's fifth Test golden duck, of which three have come in England against England. Indeed, Stuart Broad had Kohli caught behind first ball in his previous away innings against England back in 2018.

Jofra Archer will miss both the T20 World Cup and this year's Ashes as the England bowler has been ruled out for the remainder of 2021.

Archer has been dealing with a troublesome elbow injury and underwent surgery in May, with an "intensive rehabilitation period" planned before he was reassessed.

The pace bowler insisted he would not rush his return but had targeted both the T20 World Cup – which is to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman – and the tour of Australia.

Archer will be available for neither, though, despite returning with Sussex last month.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Thursday the player had suffered a recurrence of a stress fracture of his right elbow, confirmed by scans last week.

"In response to these findings, [Archer] has been ruled out for the rest of the year and will miss the current LV= Insurance Test series against India, the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 and the Ashes series in Australia," a statement explained.

"The 26-year-old, who had an operation in May to remove a bone fragment from his elbow, returned to play last month.

"As part of his return-to-bowling programme, he became aware of increasing discomfort in his elbow during matches for Sussex in the Vitality Blast and a 50-over friendly against Oxfordshire.

"The operation is not related to the stress fracture that sidelined the player previously.

"He will now spend time on an extended break from cricket before returning for a medical review in early autumn."

England are already without all-rounder Ben Stokes for their ongoing Test series against India, as he is focusing on his mental wellbeing during an indefinite period away from the sport.

Archer starred alongside Stokes for England at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, taking 20 wickets – tied for the third-most at the tournament – to help the hosts to their first title following a dramatic final.

He was then handed his Test debut against Australia in the Ashes, collecting 22 wickets including a pair of five-fors and career-best figures of 6-45.

India's seamers ripped through an undercooked and ill-equipped England battling line-up to take charge on day one of the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat on a Nottinghamshire surface that promised assistance to the seamers and the tourists took advantage with a masterful performance.

Only Root offered any significant resistance with a fluent 64 as Jasprit Bumrah (4-46) and Mohammed Shami (3-28) excelled to skittle the hosts for 183.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul guided India to 21 without loss at stumps, showing far more aptitude than England's top order.

 

Rory Burns was brilliantly set up in a first over examination from Bumrah, who pushed deliveries across the left-hander before bringing one back in to trap him lbw – the first of four ducks on the England card.

Virat Kohli's excitably erratic reviewing can prove a hindrance at times but he was vindicated in going upstairs to discover Zak Crawley, who appeared in good touch en route to 27, got a faint inside edge behind off Mohammed Siraj (1-48).

Dom Sibley shovelled Shami to short midwicket in the second over after lunch to curtail a painstaking 18, uniting Root with his great friend Jonny Bairstow for a solid stand of 72 that suggested England might have got to grips with a considerable task.

But Shami successfully reviewed to have Bairstow lbw for 29 on the stroke of tea and Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler and Ollie Robinson all came and went without scoring around Root being trapped in front by Shardul Thakur (2-41).

From 138-3, England had slumped to 155-8, whereupon a breezy 27 not out from Sam Curran offered some brief respite. Such moments might be few and far between in this series for Root's men on this evidence.

Jonny Bairstow looks set to get a chance to revive his Test career on Wednesday – against the very opponents who looked to have ended it earlier this year.

England batsman Bairstow recorded three ducks in four innings as Joe Root's side fell to a 3-1 series loss in India and the Yorkshireman did not feature in the home red-ball series against New Zealand in June.

However, he is back in the fold for the five-match rubber against Virat Kohli's men, which begins at Trent Bridge, and a thigh injury to Ollie Pope looks to have created an opening in the middle order.

Ben Stokes' absence as the star all-rounder takes time out to look after his mental health and allow an injured finger to heal means Bairstow's experience might win the day over Dan Lawrence when it comes to deciding who should bat at number five below Root.

The lack of Stokes also means Bairstow and Lawrence could both play, although that would see Root restricted to a four-man bowling attack.

A greater degree of firepower will probably be required against a fine India side, although the tourists' strength in all departments has served to undermine their preparations.

Opener Mayank Agarwal will miss the opening Test with concussion after being struck on the head by a Mohammed Siraj bouncer in the nets.

Shubman Gill is already absent with a shin injury and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane strongly suggested India would be loathe to move Cheteshwar Pujara up from his pivotal number three slot. It could mean Abhimanyu Easwaran stepping in to open despite not playing any first-class cricket for 15 months.

Although far from an ideal scenario, the combination of a heavily loaded international schedule and the demands of quarantine and bio-secure bubbles means plenty of players – including much of England's brittle batting order – are heading into what should be an elite-level contest somewhat undercooked.

England look to their Mr Dependable once more

James Anderson's incredible career as the most prolific seam bowler in Test history looked to be reaching the end in 2019, when calf problems restricted him to just four overs in that year's Ashes series.

Since then, he has claimed 42 wickets for England at 23, breaking through the 600-wicket barrier in the process. As pacemen Jofra Archer and Ollie Stone nurse their latest injuries, the 39-year-old Anderson remains as important to his country's prospects of success as ever.

Preparation the key for Kohli

Anderson resuming his duel with master batsman Kohli is once again sure to be a highlight of the series. The India captain has been in England with his squad for two months now, with the World Test Championship final defeat to New Zealand at least clearing the way for the sort of acclimatisation and preparation seldom enjoyed for away tours in the modern era.

Kohli averages 35.63 in Tests in England, with two centuries and three centuries to his name in 11 matches. Although a perfectly respectable record, he would love to bring it closer to his returns in Australia – conditions that a haul of six centuries and four fifties (average 54.08) show he has unquestionably tamed.

England captain Joe Root is "desperate" for friend and team-mate Ben Stokes "to be okay" after it was announced the all-rounder was taking an indefinite break from cricket.

Following in the footsteps of Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, Stokes has become the latest elite athlete to step away from sport to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

Stokes had been set to face India in a five-Test series but will instead rest, also giving his injured finger time to heal.

On Monday, skipper Root offered his support to the 30-year-old, whose father died last December following a battle with cancer.

"I had a conversation with Ben and that's when I found out, but that call will stay between the two of us," Root said.

"For me, it was hard to see a friend like that. More than anything, I just want him to be okay

"What was said stays between us two and I think, throughout this, it's important that people respect his privacy and give him the best chance to deal with this in his own way.

"I'm just desperate for him to be okay and I'll be there for him as much as I can be in whatever way he wants."

Having suffered a broken left index finger while playing in the Indian Premier League in April, Stokes was back in action for Durham in June and unexpectedly returned to the international arena last month.

The England vice-captain led a short-handed team to an ODI series whitewash of Pakistan after a coronavirus outbreak saw the original squad stood down.

Now, the England and Wales Cricket Board has promised Stokes "as long as he needs".

Root added: ""From my point of view, I just want my friend to be okay.

"I think that anyone who knows Ben knows that he always puts other people in front of himself and first. And I think now is an opportunity for him to put himself first, to take time to look after himself and to get himself to a good place again.

"Hopefully that can be sooner rather than later and I think cricket has to be a secondary thought down the line and he should take as much time as he needs.

"He's got my full support on that and he can be sure he has the ECB's full support on that and the team's."

The India series begins on Wednesday with the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Kumar Sangakkara believes pandemic cricket is taking an increasing toll on cricket's leading starts after Ben Stokes decided to take an indefinite break from the game.

England vice-captain Stokes made an ahead-of-schedule return from a finger injury to lead a reserve squad to a 3-0 ODI series win over earlier this month after a coronavirus outbreak saw the initial party stood down en masse.

It was the latest demonstration of the particular challenges these times bring for elite cricketers, with all-rounder Stokes an all-format player who has spent large chunks of the past year in bio-secure bubbles on home soil and away in Sri Lanka and India.

The T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates precedes a December-January Ashes series in Australia and Stokes, who featured in the inaugural Hundred for the Northern Superchargers has elected to take a step back ahead the forthcoming five-match home Test series against India.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the 30-year-old would "prioritise his mental wellbeing and rest his left index finger", with managing director of England men's cricket Ashley Giles acknowledging "the ongoing pandemic has acutely compounded" the pressures of top-level cricket.

Speaking to Sky Sports, former Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara suggested such occurrences were likely to become more commonplace the longer sport has to coexist with the global health crisis.

"It all adds up. A lot of time away from home, a lot of time in bubbles, restrictions in terms of freedom of movement, a lot of protocols in place. Then the added pressure of performing at such an intensely high level in the public eye," he said.

"It's very difficult to pinpoint what could be different. Individuals deal with things differently and, over time, you can reach a point where you need a breather and a break.

"He needs support and good people around him and hopefully he's back as soon as possible.

"In the news, we've had a host of athletes who've spoken about mental well-being, the effects of COVID and the pressure around it."

Kevin Pietersen, the former England batsman, also gave the star his best wishes, noting the pain Stokes endured when his father died in December last year after a battle with cancer.

"I hope he's okay. He's a fabulous cricketer, one of the best in the world at the moment," Pietersen told Sky Sports.

“He obviously lost his dad, there are a lot of things that have happened to Ben Stokes in the last couple of years.

"I don't want to comment too much on it because we don't know what the issue is. All I know is I want him to be okay."

Sri Lanka trio Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka have been banned from international cricket for a year after breaching the team's bio-secure bubble in England.

The players were in Durham preparing for the first of three ODIs against the world champions last month when they left the team hotel to visit the city centre despite strict COVID-19-related rules.

Batsmen Mendis and Gunathilaka and wicketkeeper-batsman Dickwella were sent home and have now been hit with strong sanctions.

The executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket took into account recommendation made by an independent panel of inquiry before handing down a 12-month ban from playing at international level and a six-month domestic suspension.

They were also given a further one-year ban, which is suspended for a two-year period.

Mendis, Dickwella and Gunathilaka have been fined 10million Sri Lanka Rupees (around £36,000) for their indiscretion.

 

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the Test squad to face India in order to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his injured finger.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday revealed Stokes has decided to take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect.

Stokes has been captaining the Northern Superchargers in the inaugural Hundred competition but he will not be in the England side to face India when a five-match series starts next week.

Craig Overton will replace the vice-captain in the squad to take on Virat Kohli's side.

Managing director of England men's Cricket Ashley Giles, said: "Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing.
 
"Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our people. The demands on our athletes to prepare and play elite sport are relentless in a typical environment, but the ongoing pandemic has acutely compounded this.

"Spending significant amounts of time away from family, with minimal freedoms, is extremely challenging. The cumulative effect of operating almost continuously in these environments over the last 16 months has had a major impact on everyone's wellbeing.
 
"Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future."
 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will hold talks with Cricket Australia over coronavirus restrictions during the Ashes amid concerns that several senior players may be reluctant to tour.

Joe Root's side are due to start their bid to regain the urn at The Gabba on December 8, with the fifth and final Test scheduled to begin at Optus Stadium in Perth on January 18.

Multi-format players such as Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler would face several months away from home, with the T20 World Cup taking place in the United Arab Emirates prior to the Ashes.

It is unclear whether COVID-19 rules may prevent families from travelling to Australia and England players have been in talks this week to seek clarity over restrictions that may be in place.

The ECB and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) say player and staff welfare will be a priority as they prepare to hold discussions with Cricket Australia.

A joint ECB and PCA statement  said: "This week, several meetings have been held between the England men's players, ECB and Team England Player Partnership to discuss provisional plans for the tour of Australia later in the year.

"All parties are collaborating and will continue to work together to understand protocols around bubble environments, family provision and quarantine rules that will be in place for the tour during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

"With player and management’s welfare paramount, the ECB will discuss planning and operational requirements with Cricket Australia in the coming weeks and how they seek to implement their policies in partnership with state and federal governments.

"All stakeholders are committed to putting player and staff welfare as the main priority and finding the right solutions that enables the England team to compete with the best players and at the highest possible standard that the Ashes series deserves."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.