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Howard fine with Test, T20 cross-over

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 Rob Forsaith

Cricket Australia high-performance chief Pat Howard wants to embrace the idea of two national sides playing different formats at almost the same time.

Australia host Sri Lanka in a Twenty20 at Adelaide Oval on February 22, while their four-Test series against India starts in Pune on February 23.

Australia's Test squad is likely to assemble on the subcontinent in early February, wanting a better chance to adjust to local conditions as they seek to gain revenge for a shambolic 4-0 series loss to India in 2013.

It is the latest reminder of how jam-packed the international schedule is.

But it's also far from unprecedented.

Australia's Test stars were unavailable for home Twenty20 series against England and South Africa in 2014 because they overlapped with tours.

Earlier this year it was a one-day series in New Zealand that led to Cameron Bancroft taking the gloves on international debut at the SCG, where an under-strength Australian side suffered a 3-0 T20 series loss to India.

"To a certain extent I want to embrace it," Howard said, when asked about the prospect of two Australian teams being in action almost simultaneously.

"We've done better and performed better when players have really lavished the opportunity, versus it being tacked on at the end of a long season.

"So there is a way to have a think about this differently to give us a better chance of winning."

One clear bone of contention between Cricket Australia and its players regarding the packed schedule is the Indian Premier League.

The lucrative T20 tournament falls during players' leave period - in April and May - with former skippers Michael Clarke and Steve Waugh both recently suggesting it was up to players to rest when they have time off.

"There's been continuous cricket since August 2014 through till June 2017," Howard told radio station SEN.

"The IPL is their break ... there are limitations to what we can and can't do."

Australia skipper Steve Smith recently defended those players who took part in the IPL.

"There's obviously plenty going on but in regards to IPL that's a tournament I've really enjoyed playing in. My game has improved significantly out of playing in the IPL and playing in those conditions," Smith said.

"I don't have a real issue with that."

Meanwhile, Howard was content with Glenn Maxwell's shock omission for the opening round of the Sheffield Shield - provided it doesn't become a "permanent issue".

Maxwell, who is a CA contracted player, made his Test debut in India prior to the homework-gate saga and remains on selectors' radar for the upcoming tour of India.

"He's a world-class player, they expected a world-class performance (in the recent one-day competition) ... they wanted more out of him," Howard said of Victoria's decision.

"He's got his opportunities to perform over the next couple of weeks ... he'll be fine."

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