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Brett Lee has urged Cricket Australia to release him and his Australian team-mates to take part in the Indian Premier League starting next month, saying it will help them prepare for the tour to the Caribbean starting in May.

The cancellation of Australia's tour to Pakistan means that many members of Ricky Ponting's team will not have played any cricket for nearly three months by the time they land in the West Indies - unless they are cleared by CA to play in the IPL.

Lee, who along with Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Stuart MacGill and Nathan Bracken will be playing in the final of Australia's domestic four-day competition starting on Saturday, said that was hardly the ideal preparation for a tour to the Caribbean.

Australia is scheduled to play three Tests - the first starting on May 22 - five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match against the West Indies in May and June.

"The most important thing is to play some cricket prior to the West Indies tour coming up, that's our most important thing that we do have to worry about," Lee said.

"The hardest thing would be to play the Pura Cup final here, to have an opportunity to have a few weeks off and not play cricket and then go straight into a Test series in the West Indies would be pretty tough on the body I think."

Lee said Twenty20 cricket was better than no cricket as far as preparation for the Caribbean was concerned.

"As long as you're out there bowling and batting and being out in the field - any cricket's great preparation I think for a tour coming up," he said.

"There's always that fine line about playing too much cricket or not playing enough cricket but I think in this case if we have three to four to five weeks off without playing any cricket it's almost going back to pre-season blues again.

"You get back into a game and your body goes through that stiffness again so I think if we keep playing cricket it'll probably be the best thing for us."
 
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