Mitchell Starc and the country’s best male stars are ready for a massive payday in the Indian Premier League as Cricket Australia prepares for yet another out-of-season country versus cash debate.
Ideally, CA would prefer their best players to rest during their leave period to freshen up after seven months on the road instead of playing in India, but given the overwhelming amounts offered in the world’s most lucrative T20 league, it is a battle they will not win.
The combination of a mega-player auction next month, two new franchises and an increased wallet of $ 940,000 per. team means there are even more riches on offer.
With Glenn Maxwell as the only Australian player retained by his IPL franchise, Pat Cummins, Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s first-choice Test attack and superstars Steve Smith and David Warner will all benefit from the favorable market forces. The world’s No. 1 Test winner Marnus Labuschagne has indicated that he also wants to play.
But with limited series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka at home after the ashes, followed by test trips to Pakistan in March and Sri Lanka in June and July, there is hardly any time to have free.
The idea that players miss matches for their country while freelancing in T20 leagues is a sore point for many national boards, but a fact of the modern game. It will be even more jarring if players make themselves inaccessible to the Pakistan tour but still accept the money offered a month later in neighboring India.
Players this week received a briefing from the CA and Australian Cricketers Association following their recent reconnaissance visit. ACA does not expect all players to travel to Pakistan, even though security clearances have been ticked.
Starc was non-committal when asked if he would make himself available for Australia’s first tour of Pakistan since 1998 if it were to go ahead.
“We had a bit of a briefing the other day about the upcoming tour,” Starc said. “I think it gives time for all players to process that information. It’s clear we have a test match this week to play in and perform in, and then we move on to what happens next.”