Australia selector Mark Waugh has lamented the length of the limited-overs Qantas Tour of India, but is confident it will have no ill-effects on preparations for the coming Ashes series.
Australia have been competing against India in one-day internationals since September 17, with the Twenty20 series – currently level at 1-1 – to conclude in the early hours of Saturday (AEDT).
For some players, including Test vice-captain David Warner who is currently leading the T20 side, it's been back-to-back tours after the two-Test series in Bangladesh in September, with just a short break before the JLT Sheffield Shield season begins on October 26.
Waugh, who is with the side in India as selector-on-duty, would have preferred players have more time off ahead of the Australian summer and a longer preparation for red-ball cricket.
"It's got to be said, it's not an ideal time to be away from Australia," Waugh told Sky Sports Radio on Thursday.
"This series has been a bit spread out. It would have been better probably if it was a week or two shorter."
The current tour mirrors the Australia team's preparations for the 2013-14 Ashes, when the side played one T20 and a seven-match ODI series in India that finished just 19 days before the first Ashes Test.
Waugh said the early departures from the subcontinent of captain Steve Smith and fast bowler Pat Cummins were a blessing.
He praised the scheduling of three Shield matches before the Magellan Ashes begin in Brisbane on November 23.
"Once they get home, they'll have a little break then they'll be back focused on red-ball cricket, then the Ashes," Waugh said.
"The players are pretty much used to it; it's probably more the travelling, flying around.
"This one-day tournament and T20 tournament has been to about eight different places, so there's been a lot of travel.
"But I think they're coping pretty well.
"Obviously Steve Smith going home might be a blessing in disguise, a bit of a freshen-up. He's got a heavy workload, as do a lot of the players.
"We'll be right. Those three Shield matches will have us in good stead for the Ashes."
Waugh also shed light on selectors' inclination for the No.6 batting position for the Ashes – one of two places he confirmed are undecided.
The other is Matthew Wade as wicketkeeper.
Waugh said with few options for a genuine allrounder, a batsman who bowls part-time is the likely preference for No.6, identifying Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Hilton Cartwright and Travis Head as candidates.
"The No.1 priority is batting," Waugh said.
"I'm not calling it an allrounder. It's probably more a batting allrounder.
"You're getting your best batsman anyway and if they can bowl a bit that's a bonus.
"I don't think the out-and-out genuine allrounder's there, given Mitch Marsh is coming back from a shoulder injury."
Australia's Qantas Tour of India
Australia squad: David Warner (c), Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.
October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi
October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati
October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad