Colombo: Cricket Australia has said it will not put pressure on Australian cricketers to skip the Indian Premier League in order to be fresh for next year’s Ashes series, adding that one should learn from Shane Watson if he is to be at his best when his country needs him most.
Watson made no secret of his dismay at being rested for the recent one-day series against Pakistan but the decision has been vindicated by his marauding performances at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, where he topped the batting table and tied with Ajantha Mendis for most wickets leading into last night’s semi-final.
The vice-captain presents CA with a conundrum because it needs him to be fit and fresh for big series such as next month’s showdown with South Africa for the No.1 Test ranking and the fight to regain the Ashes.
But it has little control over him for about two months of the year because of IPL and Champions League commitments, The Sydney Morning herald reports.
CA has a financial vested interest in the Champions League, which starts next week and runs close to the Test summer, and is the next destination for Watson, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Mike Hussey.
The IPL is scheduled between next autumn’s Test tour of India and a winter in the UK that includes an ICC Champions Trophy and the Ashes.
Watson, who plays all three forms, is a prime candidate to be exhausted before he gets there, having lost last summer to injuries.
Team performance manager Pat Howard said Watson deserved credit for rebuilding his fitness and dominating the World Twenty20 but would continue to be withdrawn from some series.
“I think Shane sees the positives in it. He still states, ‘I want to play all the time,’ but, as there’s more and more cricket played, something has got to give. We want guys not only physically ready to play but also mentally hungry, with that ability to say, ``bugger you guys, I don``t want you to rest me``,” Howard said.