Sun, 28 May 2023

Melbourne [Australia], May 24 (ANI): Experienced Australia pacer Mitchell Starc has refuted suggestions from England veteran seamer Stuart Broad that the most recent Ashes series Down Under was "a void series" due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The five-Test match series between Australia and England will be played between June 16 to July 31.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the most recent Ashes series in Australia at the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 in many ways, with several key players and officials missing Tests due to the restrictions in place and being forced to isolate to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading.

Australia won 4-0 at home, but Broad recently fanned the fire ahead of the forthcoming Ashes series in England by declaring that series was not a true Ashes series and should be nullified.

"Nothing was harsher than the last Ashes series. But in my mind, I don't class that as a real Ashes," ICC quoted Broad as saying.

"Nothing about that series was high-level performance because of the COVID restrictions. The training facilities, the travel, not being able to socialise. I've written it off as a void series," he added.

A host of Australian players have since refuted Broad's claim, with Starc the most recent Test star to offer his thoughts on the matter.

Starc, a veteran of five Ashes series, believes England's players received many luxuries during the series that others weren't afforded and said he enjoyed the opportunity to help Australia win the little urn in such a dominant style.

"The funniest thing out of that was they called it quarantine on the Gold Coast. I did seven of them. That was the easiest by a country mile," Starc told Sydney Morning Herald.

"The Poms had the pool, the gym, they were in a resort on the Gold Coast, they trained at Metricon (now Heritage Bank Stadium), weren't confined to their rooms and had their families there. Was that really quarantine? They were still allowed to play golf on tour. Is that an excuse for 4-0? Dunno. It was a pretty good series to be a part of," Starc said.

Australia face India prior to the Ashes in the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval, starting on June 7, while England take on Ireland in a four-day Test at Lord's from June 1. (ANI)

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