Some elite Australian cricketers will be forced to miss the entire 2019 Indian Premier League.
Cricket Australia said on Thursday that any player selected in Australia’s squad for the 50-over World Cup in Britain would have to attend a training camp in early May, during the tail-end of the IPL.
CA also said it would need to give approval for any Australian cricketer who wanted to play in next year’s IPL, which has been brought forward to avoid a clash with the World Cup.
The IPL will run from March 29-May 19. The World Cup starts in Britain on May 30.
CA said it would also bar any players in the Sheffield Shield final in late March from playing in the IPL until after the Shield decider.
Opening bowler Mitchell Starc said on Thursday he would choose country over IPL commitments. Concerns about Starc’s workload have forced him to consider about how much cricket is too much.
He was a high-priced signing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL last season but didn’t play due to injury.
The issue has the potential to be another flashpoint between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA).
That relationship has been under significant pressure since the punishing negotiations on the players’ collective bargaining agreement and the fallout from the penalties handed out to the Cape Town three.
The ACA’s general manager of cricket operations and player relations Brendan Drawl said “Australian players will always prioritise representing their country”.
Drawl conceded that with a World Cup and an Ashes campaign running back to back next year it presented a unique set of circumstances. He was quick to underline that it should be seen as an exception.
“The typical April/May leave period is an important time for players at the end of and Australian summer, allowing them to ply their craft in the IPL if they choose”.
“It will be important to return to this in the future”.
Fast bowler Pat Cummins had reportedly been angling for a long-term CA contract to offset any financial disadvantage incurred due to injury acquired while playing for Australia or having to forgo IPL cricket because of CA contractual commitments.
With the IPL player auction set for December, the uncertainty of their value in the marketplace due to CA’s new protocol is sure to unsettle some of Australia’s biggest names.
Cricket Australia has a roster of players who are on predominantly 12-month deals.
The organisation’s interim high-performance manager, Belinda Clark, said the moves were a balancing act.
“It is a difficult period with the IPL being brought forward to accommodate the World Cup, and overlapping our domestic season,” Clark said.
“We are committed to respecting the position of the Sheffield Shield while ensuring Australia’s World Cup squad is well prepared … while also ensuring those that are fit to play have opportunity to participate in the IPL.
“While this is no easy feat, I think we have managed a reasonable balance that will enable the players to consider their options and choose what is right for them and their respective teams.
“We will, as always, assess applications on a case by case basis. But it is important the players understand our position in advance, so they have the clarity they need to make personal decisions.”