Players that will be picked in Australia’s ICC World Cup 2019 squad won’t be allowed to take part in the final few weeks of the Indian Premier League 2019 season. The move comes to ensure that players choose the nation over the cash-rich league keeping the mega world tourney in mind.
Two adamant reasons come to the mind straight away in why Cricket Australia (CA) decided to announce this move that will see players follow several guidelines. 1) Australia’s current form in all formats of the game is seemingly at a low point. 2) CA is wary about the schedule of IPL 12 and with the World Cup starting a few days post the global T20 league, the board feels its the right decision.
The fact of the matter is CA will also not allow the players to feature after May 1.
Now keeping the proceedings in mind, several franchises have let gone off Aussie players in the recently concluded IPL trade window. Was it their form or keeping their availability in mind, nonetheless teams have made a bold call.
Now looking into the matter and the overall scenario, the question arises has CA done the right thing? Or should they have allowed its players to have a normal crack at the T20 league that has always boasted off big Australian stars?
Here we analyse the same.
What does the CA want?
After a miserable run of form in 2018, CA are determined that the players bring their entire focus on defending their World Cup title ahead of an away Ashes series against England next year.
Aussies have failed to move on from the ball-tampering scandal that rocked them in March 2018. Performances post that took a beating and it has continued in the same vein since the last 8-9 months. With the World Cup less than 7 months away, CA do not want to take chances.
In a press conference recently, Cricket Australia’s interim Team Performance chief Belinda Clark said the rules were “in the interest of making Australians proud of our team”.
“We are working hard to ensure their health and match readiness ahead of what will undoubtedly be a huge year in cricket, while respecting the players’ interests in playing in the various formats,” she said.
What are the guidelines for players?
Australian players that are set to be involved in the series against Pakistan in the month of March, will have little time to adjust for IPL 12. The series ends on March 29 and by the time they reach India, they would already miss the first few games.
Players, who would feature in the Australian ODI squad against Pakistan, will only be allowed to leave for IPL, after the series gets over.
The IPL 12 is likely to be held from March 29 to May 19. And the 15-man squad selected for the World Cup in April, are set to miss the IPL matches in May. As per CA’s directive, the selected players must attend a pre-tournament camp in May.
This means several stars will not be seen in the most crucial stage of the league. It is definitely a big blow for teams that would be competing for the play-offs.
And players, who will need approval from CA to feature in the IPL, must also complete their Sheffield Shield duties before leaving for the Indian tournament.
So teams now have to think other strategies.
How have the teams responded?
One can say that it has been a mixed window for Aussie cricketers. Many players see their fate hang in the balance ahead of the auction next month. Some players have been retained, but their unavailability likely for the World Cup and the series against Pakistan means they won’t be featuring much.
So on one hand returning banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner can rejoice as they will definitely play until April end. Others such as Andrew Tye and Chris Lynn will be seeking to have a terrific April and fight for berths in the World Cup squad.
For many others, they see contracts worth millions of dollars getting torn apart.
The likes of Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short were released by their teams just hours after CA announced their decision as per reports.
One cannot solely claim this as the reason as someone like Short and Maxi didn’t perform to their standards in 2018.
Also there is a risk involved here. If some of these players do not get bought in the auction, and then fail to make it to the WC squad as well, then they would be left shattered.
IPL brought forward as CA choose logic over emotions
The IPL is being brought forward keeping both the World Cup and the Indian General Elections in mind. Reports had come out that the IPL could be held in South Africa as the dates are colliding with the elections.
Besides Australia, even England players chosen for the World Cup will miss out the action in May. Meanwhile, New Zealand cricket board has allowed its players to be available throughout. Other boards too haven’t made a decision like that of CA or the ECB.
Every year, several Aussie cricketers are part of the IPL but 2019 might be different. However, it remains to be seen how many Aussies, who aren’t in a franchise at the moment, sign up for the auction.
As far as CA is concerned, they chose logic over emotions.
CA’s move is well thought though: Our take
We believe that Cricket Australia has taken the right call here. The attitude is positive and there is a no-nonsense policy. CA is desperate to get the side back to the top and the two major tourneys World Cup and the Ashes come as the main priority.
One can claim that they could have been a little less strict and make things work out like other nations. But to be honest Aussies are in a difficult scenario than the rest. Expectations are higher and they cannot afford to the take chances. Not that having a pre-tournament camp will see them win the WC, but at least they can go prepared.
CA want to ensure Australia’s World Cup squad is well prepared for this critical world event