In a move that has signalled the intent of five-time World Cup champions Australia’s intent, the country’s cricket board (Cricket Australia) have announced that players picked for the tournament will not take part in the last few weeks of the Indian Premier League as they look to prepare for the mega-tournament beginning on May 30, 2019 in England.
Speaking about the move, Cricket Australia’s interim Team Performance EGM Belinda Clark said, “We are committed to respecting the position of the Sheffield Shield, while ensuring Australia's World Cup squad is well prepared for this critical world event, 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,” Clark said.
Cricket Australia has outlined the players will have to complete their Sheffield Shield commitments and national duties to get approval to play in the IPL and added that the 15 players selected in the World Cup squad will have to attend a pre-tournament camp in early May.
Starc out of IPL 2019
Recently, Mitchell Starc was released by his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. The left-armer, who was picked up for Rs 9.4 crore by the franchise in the previous IPL auction, said he is at home for April and if he is rested for the tournament, then his body will be fresh for the rigours of the World Cup and the Ashes contest against England.
“That little period has really paid off for the body. If I don't play the IPL next year it's a good opportunity to freshen up for a massive six months of cricket in the UK,” Starc was quoted by Cricket Australia’s official website.
“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. It is imperative that we ensure Australia is in the best possible position as we head into the Cricket World Cup and the 2019 Ashes series. This means prioritising our focus on match readiness and the health of our players,” Clark added, stating that this will give clarity to the players when it comes to decision-making.
The World Cup begins on May 30. There are chances that the IPL, traditionally held from April to May, might be advanced to March in order to give players the chance to rest and prepare for the tournament. Another factor that might push the IPL to March-April is the dates of the Indian General Elections, scheduled to be held in April May 2019.
If the IPL is pushed to March, it will clash with the last part of Australia's domestic season as well as their ODI series against Pakistan. The final round of the Sheffield Shield is scheduled from March 20 to 23. Australia have a scheduled ODI series against Pakistan and although the dates are not confirmed, the series has been scheduled for March 15-29.