Big Bash League window too narrow for some
Stuart Clark, the former Australian fast bowler and Sydney Sixers general manager, believes it will be difficult for some Test players to take part in the expanded Twenty20 Big Bash League during the briefest of windows between international series in December.
Having announced the appointment of Trevor Bayliss, who has previously coached Sri Lanka and New South Wales, to mentor the Sixers, Clark will now turn his attention to the acquisition of players for his team, which will be based at the SCG.
No stranger to the demands of the schedule during his own Test career, Clark was understandably keen to get as many Cricket Australia-contracted players aligned to the Sixers as possible.
But he also said some would be in need of a significant break between the end of the second Test against New Zealand and the start of the series against India. CA wants to have all of its contracted players available for the first round of the tournament.
"On an individual basis they'll have to judge it," Clark told ESPNcricinfo. "Some of the bowlers or guys who've had a longer run of games will want a longer break than others. We'll just have to play it on a cases-by-case basis and see who we can get. It's good for the tournament, it makes it a better tournament, if they're going to be around."
By the time the first round of the BBL takes place - planned tentatively for December 16-20 - some Australian players will have taken part in eight Tests and two limited overs series' spanning three countries in four months. The captain Michael Clarke, his deputy Shane Watson, and fast bowler Mitchell Johnson are all expected to shoulder an exceptionally heavy workload during that time.
As for Bayliss, Clark was glad to have convinced his former state coach to guide the Sixers.
"I dare say he had offers from a few of the BBL teams, not just from the other one in NSW," Clark said. "He's had a vast amount of experience; I've been lucky enough to play under him, and he can bring that international background into the domestic scene.
"I hope it does [challenge him]. He brings all his experience into it, and he's also a very competitive guy - I think we will see that side of him in the tournament."
Technically still available to play for NSW, Clark has been using his close links to the players around the country to start to form an idea of what his squad may be like.
"I think I've spoken to every man and his dog so far," he said. "It is true that in this job my relationships with the players have made it easier for me to talk to them, but we've got to wait for the state contracts to come out before we can finalise anything."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo