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Nick Hockley: Australia players' IPL availability yet to be discussed

Steven Smith and Pat Cummins catch up BCCI

Cricket Australia has yet to start discussions over whether players will be able to head back to the IPL when the tournament resumes in the UAE later this year as those who had returned from the suspended competition completed their quarantine in Sydney on Monday.

The cohort of Australians - players, commentators, coaches and match officials - endured a long journey home when the tournament was halted earlier this month, having to travel via a stay in the Maldives due to Australia's border being closed to arrivals from India, before a BCCI-chartered flight brought them back when restrictions were partly lifted.

While Australia do not have any international commitments when the IPL is due to resume it is unlikely that all the players will resume their deals. The tournament is now set to run almost straight into the T20 World Cup - which still seems likely to be moved to the UAE, although the BCCI has asked the ICC for more time to see if the showpiece event can be held as scheduled in India - meaning another lengthy stint in various biosecure bubbles for those involved in both. It will also clash with the start of the Australian domestic season, although last year players with IPL deals did skip state cricket.

"Once we get back together as a group that [the IPL] is something we'll obviously need to discuss," Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said on the day he was confirmed in the role full-time. "Our players returning from the IPL have only today come out of quarantine, so our first priority is to make sure they are reunited with their families…we [then] have a tour to prepare for in the West Indies."

Following the T20 World Cup, players will need to do a further two weeks quarantine in Australia then those in the Test squad will go straight into the opening match of the men's season against Afghanistan in Hobart before the Ashes in December.

Australia have named a preliminary squad of 23 for the West Indies tour in July, which includes five T20Is and three ODIs, with that expected to be trimmed to around 18. They are then due to go straight from the West Indies to Bangladesh for five T20Is although those dates have yet to be rubberstamped.

The group coming out of quarantine on Monday included nine players who are part of the enlarged squad while Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye and Adam Zampa - who left the IPL shortly before Australia's borders closed to arrivals from India - are also included.

There have been reports that David Warner and Pat Cummins may not be included in the final squad so they are able to spend more time with their families. Allrounder Daniel Sams, who contracted Covid-19 shortly before the IPL started, made himself unavailable for selection.

"They are clearly quite shaken by the experience, and are very appreciative to be back home, very much looking forward to being reunited with family and friends today," Hockley said. "It's a couple of weeks before the West Indies touring party then regroups at the National Cricket Centre [in Brisbane] and then that's the time to refocus."

Hockley also confirmed that Cricket Australia is continuing to work towards getting the squad Covid-19 vaccines before they depart in late June.

Last month the Australian government approved vaccines for Olympians who will be heading to Tokyo and the cricketers are set to come under the same eligibility criteria for those given exemptions to leave Australia for work purposes.

"We really welcomed the government announcements that people with exemptions to leave Australia for work will be eligible for the vaccine," Hockley said. "Now once the players are out of quarantine we will be working to offer them vaccinations before heading off to the West Indies."