Given they are 3-0 down with two Tests to play and lost this series against Australia in little over 11 days, that might not be saying much.
Yet with four coaches and five other members of the wider touring party struck down with Covid, the truth is most other teams, including Australia, would probably already have flown home by now.
India did so in England only four months ago when there was one case in their camp, a team physio’s positive result sparking the last-minute postponement of the final Test of the summer at Old Trafford.
England may be under pressure from those higher up to carry on regardless, yet remember this is a group of players who were not afraid to push back when they were negotiating the terms of this tour last summer. Had they not been happy with the arrangements in Australia, they would not have come.
Unfortunately the emergence of the Omicron variant and its rapid spread has made this tour far more complicated than anyone could ever have imagined. So much so they are preparing for this fourth Test without a head coach in Chris Silverwood, a fast bowling coach in Jon Lewis, and with Jeetan Patel (spin) and Darren Veness (fitness) also missing after all four tested positive.
Adam Hollioake, the only reinforcement to the three-strong coaching team that remains in Sydney, is also missing after he was pinged as a positive contact.
Even the net bowlers have been knocked out by Covid, with two testing positive on Sunday and the entire group deemed close contacts.
How to watch the Ashes 4th Test
- Dates: 5-9 January
- Start time: 11.30pm (on 4 January GMT)
- TV coverage: BT Sport 1 from 10.30pm
- Live stream: BT Sport website and app
- Highlights: BT Sport 1 at 8.15am and 12.30pm and BBC iPlayer from 5pm
All times GMT
It has resulted in captain Joe Root giving throwdowns to team-mates in the days leading up this fourth Test. Players are also buddying up to try and get sufficient practice in. This all after a soul-crushing innings defeat in Melbourne that ended with England being bowled out for 68.
Stuart Broad, writing in his Mail on Sunday column, admitted: “This tour has taken its toll on all of us. Without sounding like making excuses, we may be at the end of our mental tether with Covid. We are the only team that has played solid international cricket throughout the pandemic.
“We spent day two of the Boxing Day Test match testing for Covid and having guys moving out of their hotel rooms, away from their families, so they were no longer close contacts. When you are faffing about with stuff like that, it drags your focus away from where it needs to be.”
Ostensibly, England have nothing to play for in these final two Ashes Tests other than pride.
With the series gone and so much chaos off the field, winning this fourth Test here in Sydney would be a miracle. However, Root believes his team can shine in adversity. “This week has been very disjointed with a lot of the Covid stuff,” he said. “You can see how disruptive it can be and how it can make you feel individually. We are spread thin in terms of coaching resources. It’s a chance for the players to step up. You can learn a lot about your team in situations like this.”
Asked if at any point this week he wondered if the tour might be cancelled, Root said: “You just try to manage everything day by day. As it stands, you’ve got to trust the medical advice. I think credit to the guys, they’ve dealt with it as best they possibly can.
“They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to for 18 months now. Obviously, over time that can take its toll. It’s really tough to see members of the group having to isolate. To see the head coach away from the team, with us in the position we’re at, has been really hard.”
Australia will be missing one player in Travis Head this week, the No 5 batter also testing positive.
Ashes 4th Test: Team news and key details
- Australia (possible): DA Warner, MS Harris, M Labuschagne, SD Smith, UT Khawaja, CD Green, AT Carey (wk), PJ Cummins (c), MA Starc, NM Lyon, JR Hazlewood/S Boland
- England (possible): H Hameed, Z Crawley, DP Malan, JE Root (c), BA Stokes, JM Bairstow, JC Buttler (wk), MA Wood, SC Broad, MJ Leach, JM Anderson
- Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)
- Umpires: P Reiffel, R Tucker
- TV umpire: P Wilson
- Match referee: S Bernard (all officials Australia)
- Pitch: Like Melbourne, it’s green and expected to aid seamers from the start
- Weather: 26 degrees, rain, thunderstorms
He will be replaced by Usman Khawaja and it’s looking like Josh Hazlewood might also return from the side strain that caused him to miss the last two Tests. That would bring Australia’s “big three” bowlers – Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc – back together again, making the task for England’s run-shy batters even tougher.
The pitch in Sydney is green, too, meaning a likely recall for Broad, who has only played one Test so far.
There are unlikely to be many, if any, other changes in England’s XI from Melbourne.