Australia have locked in more Twenty20 tune-ups ahead of the World Cup as they await confirmation of when the second phase of the Indian Premier League will be squeezed into the schedule.
The IPL was suspended because of COVID-19 cases among players and staff.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will lose approximately $A430 million if the 14th edition of the IPL is not completed, meaning it is likely to be a matter of when rather than if regarding its flagship money-spinner.
The Times of India has reported the BCCI is targeting a three-week window that will start in late September, with games to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rather than its coronavirus-ravaged homeland.
The growing expectation is the T20 World Cup will start soon after the IPL ends, and also shift from India to the UAE.
If the fixture is rejigged in that fashion it may encourage more Australians to take part in the IPL than would otherwise be the case, given the event would serve as acclimatisation and T20 match practice for the World Cup.
Presuming there are no official World Cup warm-up matches during the IPL, Pat Cummins and his teammates are likely to be free of national-team commitments.
But convincing players to sign up for another biosecurity bubble may be a hard sell for IPL franchises, especially for the bulk of an Australian contingent that is currently still in hotel quarantine after their delayed return home via the Maldives.
Cricket Australia (CA) won’t map out plans for what is likely to be a congested part of the calendar, which precedes this summer’s Ashes, until it has clarity on where and when the IPL and World Cup fall.
However, CA will soon rubber stamp a T20 tour of Bangladesh that will follow July’s white-ball tour of the West Indies.
Justin Langer’s team will travel from Barbados, which is hosting the final leg of a tour that features five T20s and three ODIs, to Bangladesh.
Australia’s five-match T20 series in Bangladesh will be squeezed into approximately a week and a half during August, with players currently set to return home afterwards.
Australia’s IPL stars will be released from hotel quarantine next week, when CA will start to get a better idea of their likely availability for the Caribbean tour.
Daniel Sams, who contracted COVID-19 in India, has already made himself unavailable for the trip to the West Indies.
“Players’ wellbeing has always been our No.1 priority,” CA chief executive Nick Hockley told AAP last week, when asked about the prospect of players being rested to help guard against burnout.
“We’ll be supporting them through this quarantine period and also once they’re out.”
AUSTRALIA’S LIKELY PATH TO T20 WORLD CUP
*Five T20s & three ODIs v West Indies (July 9-24)
*Five T20s v Bangladesh (August)
*IPL (likely late September, final dates TBC)