Monday, October 18, 2021

Paine lambasts Pietersen, says come what may England will come for Ashes

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Sydney, Oct 1 (IANS) Australian Test skipper Tim Paine has asked former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen to mind his business and not influence his country’s players from taking a call on the Ashes series, scheduled to commence in December this year.

Pietersen has criticised Australian quarantine rules on Twitter, terming them “ridiculous” even as doubts linger over leading England cricketers’ availability for the five-match Ashes tour due to stringent quarantine rules imposed by Australia. There are concerns in England over the impact of the lengthy bio-bubble on the health of the players as the team will be going Down Under soon after the T20 World Cup.

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To lessen the mental stress, England players have sought to travel with their families for the Ashes, a move opposed by the Australian government which has imposed strict travel restrictions on visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also stepped in on behalf of his country’s cricketers and has pleaded for the families to be allowed to travel to Australia with the players to lessen the stress caused by staying away from the family during Chrismas.

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However, Paine has criticised Pietersen, telling him to leave the decision to the players and not instigate them to pull out of the tour.

“He (Pietersen) is an expert on everything, there is no doubt about that,” Paine said on SEN Hobart’s Jack and Painey on Friday. “If anyone is talking to Kevin, no one is forcing you to come, no one is forcing any England player to come. That is the beauty of the world we live in, you have a choice – if you don’t want to come, don’t come.

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“‘Kev’ mate, leave it to the players, let them speak. We have not heard one England player come out and say they will not be coming. I think it’s been beat up and people like Kevin like to get themselves a little bit of exposure in the media whenever they can,” added Paine, who is recuperating from a neck surgery and hopes to be fit for the Ashes.

England skipper Joe Root has been quoted as saying that he is “desperate” to play in the Ashes, but wants clarity on the quarantine protocol before committing to the tour. “It’s so hard to make a definite decision until you know,” Root has said.

“That’s why it’s so important to get all of the information. We are all desperate to be a part of an Ashes series. From a player’s point of view, we just want to know what the position is. Hopefully we can get some clarity on everything.”

Paine said that whether Root, or for that matter any England player, decides to come to Australia or not, the Ashes will go ahead.

“Well, the Ashes are going ahead – the first Test is on December 8 whether Joe’s here or not. They all want to come, there’s no doubt about it. They’re trying to get themselves the best possible conditions they can, but at the end of the day, we all are. It will be worked out as we’ve said many times above us, and then they’ll make a decision whether or not they’ll get on that plane. There will be a squad of England players coming here for the first Test on December 8th,” said Paine.

–IANS

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