Australia set to take full strength squad to Pakistan

Uncertainty surrounds how much Shield cricket Test players will be able to squeeze in before their historic series in Pakistan, but security plans for that tour are 'very robust and thorough'

No Australia player has indicated they want to opt out of touring Pakistan with selectors "well down the track" to finalising a Test squad, despite uncertainty about the resumption of the Marsh Sheffield Shield season.

National selector George Bailey said today he believed security plans were "very, very robust and very, very thorough" after multiple briefings for what would be the first Australian tour of the country since Mark Taylor's men visited in 1998.

"I believe the boards are still working through some of the minor details around that tour, so once that gets the formal tick of approval then we'll announce the squad post that, but we're reasonably well down the track," Bailey told reporters today.

The Test squad will largely pick itself following the successful 4-0 drubbing of England in this summer's Ashes series, with the emergence of Scott Boland as a reliable workhorse allowing selectors to rest Jhye Richardson.

Allrounder Mitch Marsh can be locked in for the touring party after he was rested from next month's Dettol T20 series, as was opener David Warner.

Less clear is how much Shield cricket selectors will have to see to finalise their squad, with the Western Australia border situation further complicating matters.

An 11-day break after the KFC BBL final, as per previous years, would see Shield cricket resuming about February 9.

That would seem to allow a maximum of two Shield rounds before the Australian squad would likely depart in the last week of February ahead of a Test series scheduled to begin on March 3 in Karachi.

"Whether we need to (see any Shield cricket) or not, I'm not entirely sure what opportunity we will get," Bailey said today.

"But the one thing that I think we have to be really just okay with is that we've got to accept what we get at the moment and be flexible.

"I think one of the great things and possibly one of the reasons the players performed so well in the Ashes was there were a number of players who got a good bank of Shield cricket in prior to that series.

"Whether it's for Pakistan or not, you'd certainly hope that there is an opportunity for some Shield cricket at some stage just because of the competition and to continue to see guys improving and getting the opportunity to show their wares."

Travis Head was today named in Australia's T20 squad to face Sri Lanka on the back of his outstanding performances in the Ashes series, and Bailey said there was no reason the reverse couldn't be true with in-form white-ball players pushing for spots on overseas tours.

"I know that the three formats are incredibly different but there are skillsets that do cross over, so if the opportunity arises and we do see a fit, then it certainly won't preclude (selection)," Bailey said.

"There's a number of players – Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Ash Agar, Mitch Swepson off the top of my head who, just through the nature of scheduling and different opportunities, have played a lot of one format and not as much of another."

Bailey said the plight of the Western Australian contingent was a concern for selectors following that state's government pushing back its plans to reopen its border to the eastern states.

CA and the WACA are working through plans with individual players to get some time at home and some rest but many face the prospect of not being able to return home again for several months.

"Some I believe are planning to get home as soon as they can, some I believe are working on plans to stay on the eastern seaboard and remain able to move about and have a few more freedoms," Bailey said.

"It just depends on whether some of those guys are planning to be in Pakistan, whether some have got a bit of a longer break at home as well.

"Trying to find times for players to get some rest, some physical rejuvenation, whether that be in the gym, some mental rejuvenation (is important).

"I really feel for the Western Australian contingent at the moment and their struggle to actually to get that time at home."

Foxtel, Kayo to broadcast Pakistan tour

Meanwhile, Foxtel has inked a deal with the Pakistan Cricket Board for Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports to broadcast Australia's drought-breaking tour in March, as well as the next two seasons of the Pakistan Super League.

The deal gives subscribers to Foxtel or Kayo Sports certainty more than five weeks out from the opening Test that they will be able to watch Pat Cummins lead Australia in their first Test match on Pakistani soil since 1998.

The early deal is a welcome change of pace from Foxtel's recent habit of striking last-minute deals for Australia's away tours, although it does come less than 48 hours before the opening match of this year's PSL in Karachi. In addition to the PSL this year and next, the deal includes all Pakistan's home matches until April 2023 to be broadcast on Foxtel and Kayo.

Qantas Tour of Pakistan 2022

March 3-7: First Test, Karachi

March 12-16: Second Test, Rawalpindi

March 21-25: Third Test, Lahore

March 29: First ODI, Lahore

March 31: Second ODI, Lahore

April 2: Third ODI, Lahore

April 5: Only T20, Lahore

All matches to be broadcast in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports