Australia's star players, including David Warner, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins, will miss the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) despite skipping the limited overs series against Pakistan, which is set to coincide with the lucrative T20 league.
Though the BCCI hasn't officially announced the dates of IPL-15, the league is expected to begin in the last week of March.
Warner, Hazelwood and Cummins are part of the Test squad for the series in Pakistan, starting March 4-25, but will be skipping the limited overs assignment, beginning March 29.
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However, they won't be able to link up with their IPL teams before April 5 as Australia's selection committee chief George Bailey made it clear on Tuesday that centrally contracted players who are not part of the limited-overs matches against Pakistan will not be available for the league until the bilateral series ends.
Hence, the trio will return home following the Tests in Pakistan and prior to starting their IPL stints in India.
The likes of all-rounders Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis, pacers Jason Behrendorff, Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis will also miss the start of the league as they are part of the Australian squad for the three ODIs and one T20I against Pakistan.
"I fully respect the IPL as a tournament. I think they're at the forefront of the T20 game," Bailey was quoted a saying by cricket.com.au .
"I think it's been a really important tournament for the skill development of some of our players, so it's important not to underestimate that going forward," he said.
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Bailey added that "the protocols that would dictate no centrally contracted Australia player was available to join an IPL team until April 6 were being finalised by Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager High Performance and National Teams, Ben Oliver".
The likes of Daniel Sams, Riley Meredith, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tim David, who are not bound by CA contracts, will be free to join the IPL from the start.
While Warner was bought by the Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi Capitals, Hazlewood will join the Royal Challengers Bangalore, while Cummins will return to Kolkata Knight Riders.