England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler might skip the Ashes tour scheduled for the end of the year over concerns about taking his family along due to Australia’s coronavirus restrictions. Buttler has already pulled out of the second leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League in the UAE due to the birth of his second child and gave an indication about missing the final Test against India at Old Trafford.
With his second child’s due date coming on the first day of the final Test against India at Old Trafford, Buttler may skip the match in order to be with his wife Louise and two-year-old daughter Georgia. In 2019, Buttler had cut short his stint with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL to fly back home for Georgia’s birth.
“Obviously the most important thing is to be there for my wife. If that means missing cricket, I’ll miss cricket,” Buttler told The Times on Sunday. “With my wife expecting our second child and with the uncertainty around the rest of the winter, it’s important for me to stay at home before the World Cup. I love the IPL, but without knowing what the rest of the winter looks like, it’s impossible to commit to that.
“One of the challenges is working out where the line is where you say I can’t do that. I’ve sacrificed a lot for cricket and my wife and family have sacrificed a lot. You have to be open to that (saying no). It would be incredibly disappointing if some players feel like they can’t do it, but we’re in a world at the moment where that is a possibility.”
With England scheduled to play in the men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE in October and November before flying to Australia for Ashes, it means that the players who feature in both events will be away from their families for four months.
“COVID is incredibly challenging for everyone and Australia has a very strict policy in how they’ve tried to deal with it. An added complication is that it’s been a long time now (living in bio-bubbles). If this was the first time we were potentially going away in this manner you might find it more manageable but having spent a long time in Covid environments already, it makes it tough,” said Buttler.
“We’ve been doing this for a lot longer than we all hoped. Even playing cricket in England it’s almost like being on tour. Families don’t come and go like they used to and you could get home between games. Until we get more information about what it (the Australia tour) might look like, it’s impossible to know what decision you’re making.”