IPL window opens up for Aussies
Australia's decision to postpone its three Test tour to Pakistan ensures the country's top players will get to play in April's eagerly awaited Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition.
Australia had been scheduled to tour Pakistan for a month from late March before then heading to the West Indies for a three Test tour in May, leaving little room for IPL signings such as Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds to play for their respective Indian franchises.
However with the IPL getting underway on April 18 and Australia's first match of the West Indian tour not starting until May 16, Sutherland has confirmed the players will now be able to play some IPL matches.
But he has not ruled out the players being required for additional Australia duties during their small window to play in the IPL setting up the prospect of a club versus country clash for the game's superstars.
"Just to be clear the Indian Premier League is due to commence on the 18th of April and the Australian team is due to arrive in the West Indies for a tour in early May so there may be a small window of opportunity for players to perhaps play in the IPL," Sutherland said on Tuesday.
"But at the same time we have now got this calendar issue where players won't have had much preparation leading into the West Indies tour and so our coaching staff and team management are now considering what the appropriate lead-in is going to be for the team."
This could mean the Australian players are asked to attend a training camp or play in a series of warm-up matches for the national team while the early rounds of the IPL are taking place.
Already the players are certain to miss the business end of the inaugural IPL season due to the West Indies' tour with the final of the IPL not being staged until June 1 while Australia's Test and one-day tour of the West Indies does not finish until the first week of July.
With Australia no longer going to Pakistan it means the players will not have played any first-class cricket leading into that West Indies' series for two months - with the Australian domestic season now over with the exception of the Pura Cup Final between New South Wales and Victoria, starting in Sydney on Saturday.
Australia is scheduled to play just one three day warm-up game before the first of three Tests against the West Indies, beginning in Jamaica on May 22, with Sutherland saying on Tuesday this may not be sufficient preparation for the series.
"Really with this decision being made today (not to tour Pakistan in March) we need to do a bit more work to work out what the best preparation for the West Indies' tour is going to be," he said.
But whether Cricket Australia believes the best preparation for a three Test tour to the West Indies is letting its top players play only Twenty20 cricket in India in April remains to be seen.