CANBERRA: Australia Test captain Tim Paine is adamant that the Ashes will go ahead even if England skipper Joe Root won't be part of tour amid ongoing uncertainty about the level of restrictions the tourists may face.
Cricket Australia is still negotiating with the federal government and England and Wales Cricket Board over the exact nature of travel conditions and whether players families will be able to come.
Notably, earlier this week Root couldn't confirm whether he would travel to Australia or not. But on Friday morning, Paine insisted that the five-Test series would happen.
"There'll be a squad of England players coming here and the First Test will be starting on December 8," Paine told radio station SEN Hobart as per Fox Cricket.
"The Ashes are going ahead. The First Test is on December 8th - whether Joe is here or not. They all want to come, there's no doubt about that. It'll be worked out above us and then they'll have a choice whether to get on that plane or not."
"No one is forcing any England player to come. That's the beauty of the world we live in - you have a choice. If you don't want to come, don't come," he added.
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen on Monday has said that players have had enough of bio-bubbles and there should be no restrictions on the England players in Australia for the upcoming Ashes.
"There is NO WAY I would go to The Ashes this winter. ZERO chance! Unless, the ridiculous quarantine rules were squashed and my family could travel with zero restrictions. Players are now done with bubbles! DONE," tweeted Pietersen.
Paine said Pietersen do not speak for the players and said he should leave the decision-making up to them.
"If you want to know anything on any topic in the world, you just ask Kevin Pietersen. He is an expert on everything," added Paine.
"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."