Ashes: Australian captain Tim Paine blasts Kevin Pietersen, declares ‘series will go ahead with or without Joe Root’

On Friday, Australian captain Tim Paine suggested that the series would go through as Cricket Australia and England Cricket Board continue their negotiations. Paine was blunt and to the point, stating that the Ashes would happen whether Joe Root travelled with the team or not.

The Australia skipper said, “There’ll be a squad of England players coming here and the First Test will be starting on December 8. 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.”

Kevin Pietersen had earlier tweeted in favour of England cricketers, suggesting that there was no way possible he would tour Australia. The players wanted to ease in restrictions to allow their families to travel with them and reports suggest that the players and their families will be able to quarantine in a resort-style facility in Queensland before the opening Test at the Gabba, and not be restricted to just their rooms.

Pietersen had tweeted, “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,” after restrictions related to the pandemic was lifted in the UK.

Tim Paine hit back, suggesting that Kevin Pietersen did not speak for current players and sarcastically hailed him as an “expert of everything”. Paine told SEN Hobart,

“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.”

The Australia captain added, “If you do want to come and represent your country and play in an Ashes series which Joe Root said ‘that’s what they all want to do, that’s what they dream about doing’ then come and do it. Kevin (Pietersen), mate, leave it to the players. Let them speak. The great thing about it if anyone is talking to Kevin (Pietersen) is no one is forcing you to come.”