Australia has added six players to its extended Caribbean touring party amid expectations of a wave of withdrawals from weary Indian Premier League stars.
Justin Langer’s side will assemble in Brisbane for a training camp later this month before departing for the West Indies.
Selectors originally named a preliminary 23-man squad for the series involving five Twenty20s and three ODIs.
But several members of that group are set to pull out of the trip, wanting time at home after the IPL’s coronavirus-sparked shutdown and their circuitous return journey.
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Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith and other Australian players spent almost a fortnight in the Maldives before getting the green light to return to Sydney after fleeing India.
They were released from hotel quarantine on May 31.
Veteran all-rounder Dan Christian’s eye-catching BBL form has been rewarded with a recall, while Test all-rounder Cameron Green, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner, Wes Agar and Nathan Ellis have also been added to the preliminary squad as cover.
Selectors will name the final squad, which is set to travel from the West Indies to Bangladesh for another T20 series, later this month.
Cricket Australia is yet to confirm any omissions but father-of-three Warner and Cummins, who is set to become a dad later this year, headline the list of stars expected to skip the trip.
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns noted the late rejig, which required Christian and McDermott to return home as they were about to start England’s domestic T20 competition, came after discussions with players in the original squad.
“It has become clear that recent experiences abroad, including but not limited to extended periods in bio-secure hubs and hard quarantine, have had an impact on the health and wellbeing of some players and their families,” Hohns said.
“CA has maintained that the wellbeing of players, staff and officials is a top priority.
“And never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic, given the extraordinary challenges it has placed upon international athletes and sporting teams.”
The T20s against West Indies and Bangladesh will serve as vital preparation for this year’s T20 World Cup.
Christian hasn’t played for Australia since 2017.
The 38-year-old also returned to the IPL this year, having earned a contract after helping Sydney Sixers win the BBL.
“Dan is in arguably career-best form,” Hohns said.
“His selection is testament to the hard work he has put in over many years.
“We thank Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for their cooperation and professionalism in assisting Ben and Dan return to Australia.”