Cricket Australia to curb IPL participation ahead of World Cup defence
Glenn Maxwell, who scored his last ODI hundred during the 2015 World Cup, is a big draw in the IPL. (File photo)

Australia’s top cricketers will not participate in the full duration of the 2019 Indian Premier League, Cricket Australia (CA) has said, as it bids to keep the best bunch of players available to defend their title at next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup.

The board on Thursday stated that any cricketer named in Australia’s World Cup squad will have to participate  in a pre-tournament camp in early May. As per the existing schedule, the IPL goes from March 29 to May 19, followed by the World Cup in England from May 30.

Any Australian cricketer keen to play in the 2019 IPL will need to gain approval from CA, who also ruled out the participation in the lucrative T20 league of any players in the Sheffield Shield final slated for late March. Additionally, any player named in Australia’s ODI squad for their series against Pakistan – whose dates are March 15-29 –  will also not be released until it is over.

Belinda Clarke, CA’s interim high performance manager, said these decisions had been taken keeping in mind the current state of Australian cricket with a focus on defending the World Cup and maintaining the sanctity of the Sheffield Shield.

“It is a difficult period with the IPL being brought forward to accommodate the World Cup, and overlapping our domestic season,” the former national women’s team captain said in a statement. “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.”

On Wednesday, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc revealed that he had been released from his contract with IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders – a decision that can be linked to the doubt over his availability for the 11th season of the league given its proximity to the World Cup and how the Australian selectors could opt to rest him to stay in top shape.

Australia, who recently lost an unprecedented seven successive ODIs and on Sunday slumped to their 18th loss in 21 matches, have 13 more ODIs until the start of the World Cup. After the tournament, Australia face hosts England in the Ashes.