Ashes preparation ‘comical’ – Knight


England fly to New Zealand to defend the 50-over World Cup after the series in Australia

England’s preparation for the Women’s Ashes has been “comical” because of Covid-19 rules, says Heather Knight.

The England captain was speaking after a member of the tourists’ support staff tested positive for Covid-19 six days before the opening game.

The individual is now in isolation and will remain in Canberra when the squad travel to Adelaide for the first Twenty20 of the multi-format series.

“It was naive to think we wouldn’t be affected by Covid,” Knight said.

“There is obviously concern and anxieties from the group. We’ve had to live under pretty strict protocols since we arrived.”

The Women’s Ashes has been brought forward by one week to allow England and Australia to complete 10 days’ quarantine before the World Cup in New Zealand, which begins in March.

The England party will have further PCR tests before travelling to Adelaide on a charter flight on 17 January, with the first match taking place on 20 January.

There have been suggestions a Covid outbreak before the World Cup could mean players not being allowed to travel to the tournament.

“There’s a frustration there but it’s the time we live in at the moment – it’s very challenging to tour with Covid around,” Knight said.

“The restrictions we’ve been under have changed so being adaptable to that as a player is tricky. As soon as you get your head round something, something else changes.

“But we’ve got no other option to try and make the most of it and do the best of it.”

‘We’ve had mums feeding bowling machines’

England’s players have lived under restrictions in the build-up to flying to Australia which has meant players families have been helping them practice.

“We’ve been living pretty much isolated in our households since Christmas and a little bit before, ” Knight said. “This isn’t the start of the restrictions for us. It’s been going for a little bit of while.

“Two weeks before we left England we could only train as individuals and with our households so we’ve had mums feeding bowling machines, boyfriends and girlfriends slinging, dads batting and any family member or households supporting our training.

“As you can imagine, it’s been pretty comical but also not ideal preparation for a series of this magnitude.”

Knight says a change in the Ashes schedule because of Covid, with the Twenty20 series now being played before the one-off Test, has also disrupted preparations.

“Previously we thought the Test was going to be first and we would have had a good build-up,” she says.

“It’s an Ashes series and a World Cup and as a captain I want my best team as much as possible but, being realistic, with certain players we might have to fiddle it a little bit and look at potentially where they can get a bit of breathing space.

The first game of the Ashes will take place on 20 January.

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