Gaurav Sundararaman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo
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Several prominent players from Australia and South Africa could potentially miss a major chunk of the first half of IPL 2022, ranging between 10 days to more than two weeks. While the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner and Steven Smith will be on tour in Pakistan until April 5, the South African fast bowling trio of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Marco Jansen will be busy with a home series against Bangladesh that ends on April 11. The IPL is likely to start on March 27, and end in late May.
The Test leg of Australia's tour of Pakistan, featuring three matches, is scheduled to end on March 25. Australia will then play a three-match ODI series in Rawalpindi, which will also host the only T20I on April 5. In an email to the franchises on Wednesday, the IPL said Cricket Australia had permitted players who were part of both the Test and white-ball leg in Pakistan, to travel from April 6. CA had also told IPL that all Australian players - contracted or not - whose state teams feature in the Sheffield Shield final starting from March 31 would be free to travel only from April 5.
George Bailey, Australia's chairman of selectors, had said on Tuesday said that while IPL was a "development opportunity", CA would not release players when Australia was playing. "We do see the IPL as a really good development opportunity when it fits, but there's obviously a huge amount of cricket with a series (in Sri Lanka) planned for immediately-post the IPL as well," Bailey had said during a media briefing.
"So it will be about working with the individuals to ensure they're getting the preparation they need, but we certainly won't be releasing players to the IPL while Australia are playing."
As for the South Africans, Cricket South Africa has indicated its players will be available only after their home series against Bangladesh is completed. South Africa captain Dean Elgar also indicated as much, saying at a press conference on February 10: "If a player is to pick up a big deal [at the IPL auction], we are going to still pull him into line because he's got to play for us. First and foremost, playing Test cricket for your country is the ultimate. My understanding is that the players will be available to play that series against Bangladesh. I'm not sure."* While CSA is yet to name its squads, Bangladesh's tour will begin with a three-match ODI series between March 18 and 23, followed by a two-Test series between March 30 and April 11.
The limited availability of the several key players is bound to impact the 10 teams who are busy preparing for the two-day IPL auction this weekend on February 12 and 13. Cummins, Warner and Rabada feature in 10-player marquee list, which will be the first set of players in the auction.
The likes of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Holder - both expected to be in demand at the auction - could potentially miss the first week of the IPL after both ECB and Cricket West Indies said their players would be unavailable until March 28, the scheduled last day of England's tour of West Indies. The ECB has also said that it is "committed" to start the first Test of the home series against New Zealand from June 2, so all contracted England players will be available until May 29.
West Indies also are scheduled to play ODI series against Netherlands from May 31, but CWI has not said whether the white-ball players would be pulled out of the IPL - if it's not done by then. The white-ball players will include West Indies captain Kieron Pollard, who was retained by Mumbai Indians.
The IPL also said that Shakib Al Hasan would be unavailable between May 8 and 23 - this is when Bangladesh are scheduled to play a two-Test home series against Sri Lanka. But there was no mention of his unavailability in the IPL during Bangladesh's tour of South Africa in March-April. While it is likely that he will play the ODIs there, it looks unlikely that he will be available for the South Africa Tests. Given that he is mentioned in the IPL's list, he could be available for the home Tests against Sri Lanka.
Mustafizur Rahman's availability hinges only on his selection for the limited-overs matches Bangladesh will play, because he doesn't feature in Test cricket for Bangladesh. The other Bangladesh entrants in the IPL auction - Litton Das, Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam - are all unavailable for the both periods. The IPL has said that the Bangladesh's players' availability will be based on their selections for the series against South Africa and Sri Lanka.
*5am GMT, February 10: Dean Elgar's quote was added to the article.
Pat CumminsDavid WarnerSteven SmithKagiso RabadaAnrich NortjeMarco JansenJonny BairstowJason HolderKieron PollardShakib Al HasanMustafizur RahmanWest IndiesEnglandBangladeshSouth AfricaAustraliaSunrisers HyderabadMumbai IndiansRajasthan RoyalsDelhi CapitalsChennai Super KingsPunjab KingsKolkata Knight RidersRoyal Challengers BangaloreIndian Premier League