The men’s National Selection Panel (NSP) has been locked in with the appointment of former Australian fast bowler-turned administrator Tony Dodemaide.
Mitchell Starc expects to face a “super-strong” team in this summer’s Ashes as English players approach a critical decision-making juncture.
There are fears that several members of Joe Root’s team, concerned about quarantine arrangements and biosecurity restrictions for themselves and family members, could make themselves unavailable for the five-Test series.
Cricket Australia (CA) has been in long-running talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) plus federal and state governments.
The ECB is expected to press its players for a final answer regarding their commitment in coming days, ensuring an Ashes squad can be named soon after.
“I can’t think that they wouldn’t send a super-strong team,” Starc told the Seven Network.
“They might have one or two (players) with young families, or have been on the circuit a fair bit through COVID times (and don’t want to tour).
“The Ashes mean as much to English cricket as it does Australia cricket.
“Stuart Broad mentioned the other day, he’d say yes in a heartbeat, and he’s one of their premier fast bowlers.”
Express paceman Jofra Archer’s absence, because of an elbow injury, has already been confirmed.
Star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been on an indefinite mental-health break since the end of July and is missing the Twenty20 World Cup, is considered an unlikely starter.
Broad said last week he will fly to Australia but understood if teammates opted out of the tour, arguing CA had provided “minimal detail” about quarantine and other issues.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared on Thursday that “no special deals” will be offered to England’s touring party and family members wanting to join them on the trip.
Test skipper Tim Paine, speaking on his SEN radio show, noted English and Australian players would just “have to deal with” whatever decisions are made by governments.
“The England team will have to do nothing different than what they’re asking the Australian team to do,” Paine said.
The Ashes is slated to start at the Gabba on December 8.