IPL pits stars against national tours – but might just be perfect World Cup preparation

We’re sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Advertisement

IPL pits stars against national tours – but might just be perfect World Cup preparation

By Malcolm Conn

Australia and some of its biggest stars, including Steve Smith and David Warner, could benefit from the chaos created by a rescheduled Indian Premier League despite mass withdrawals from the rapidly approaching white-ball tour of the West Indies.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns and white-ball captain Aaron Finch have both warned that replacement players selected for the West Indies and unconfirmed Bangladesh tour now have the chance to claim a place in Australia’s squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.

Australia’s white-ball tours of the West indies and Bangladesh are still uncertain.

Australia’s white-ball tours of the West indies and Bangladesh are still uncertain.Credit:Getty

Finch feels players who have failed to put their hand up for Australia’s pending tours will find it “hard to justify” returning to the postponed IPL. The 31 remaining matches have been rescheduled from COVID-ravaged India to the UAE from September 19 to October 10.

The T20 World Cup originally scheduled for India is expected to be moved to the UAE from mid October to mid November, running straight off the back of the IPL in the same location.

This shapes as the only opportunity for many of the players who have declined to tour to have some decent preparation before the T20 World Cup, the only major cricket title Australia is yet to win.

Long-term plans always had Warner and Pat Cummins missing the West Indies and Bangladesh tours after a year spent in COVID bubbles and quarantine. Warner has three young children and Cummins a pregnant fiancee.

It may be a bad look for players to be seen putting the IPL ahead of national duties ... but the reality is that the second leg of the IPL shapes as ideal preparation.

While Cummins has made it clear he won’t be returning to the IPL, Warner and Smith, who is resting an elbow problem, are likely to be available along with at least some of their fellow touring absentees, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams, who caught COVID while travelling to the IPL in April.

It may be a bad look for players to be seen putting the IPL ahead of national duties, as Finch and Hohns have indicated, but the reality is that the second leg of the IPL shapes as ideal preparation.

Advertisement

Those Australians who return to the IPL would spend three weeks training and playing against some of the best T20 players in the world at the same venues that will host all the T20 World Cup matches.

As part of the original schedule Australia is supposed to be playing warm-up matches against Afghanistan and the West Indies leading into the tournament but the dire COVID situation in India has created a number of complications.

Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch says players wanting to be considered for the T20 World Cup would find it “hard to justify” returning to the IPL.

Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch says players wanting to be considered for the T20 World Cup would find it “hard to justify” returning to the IPL.Credit:Getty

With so much uncertainty surrounding the T20 World Cup, Cricket Australia is waiting for more details.

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India has stone-walled the International Cricket Council on making an announcement about the fate of the T20 World Cup until the end of the month, there is broad acceptance amongst cricket officials it will be played in the UAE

With the IPL now scheduled until the second week of October in the Emirates, there is not the time nor the venues for practice matches ahead of the tournament proper.

For all its frustrations, the modern reality of international cricket has the IPL as a central plank.

Loading

Those frustrations have been multiplied by the BCCI foolishly attempting and failing to complete the IPL in India earlier this year when it could have been relocated to the UAE for a second successive series.

But the IPL is a marvellous marketing arm for the game, highlighting amongst other things that talented athletes around the cricket-playing world can greatly enhance their instant fame and fortune if they choose cricket.

It’s also a nice little earner for Cricket Australia, with boards from other countries receiving 10 percent of the value of each player contract. This has made millions for CA over the years, which has been ploughed back into the game at all levels.

Countries can refuse to issue Non Objection Certificates (NOCs) to prevent players from playing in competitions such as the IPL but the realpolitik of international cricket diplomacy involves not upsetting the BCCI.

India touring is the backbone of international cricket’s financial structure, with last summer’s tour of Australia worth $300 million. This allows Cricket Australia to pay its players handsomely and invest in the game over a four-year cycle until India returns to fill its coffers again.

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading