SYDNEY - Steve Smith and David Warner could play for Australia just 48 hours after their bans expire, under a proposal that could inflame relations with India.

It is understood the Pakistan Cricket Board has proposed a schedule for a pre-World Cup series against Australia, where the first match would take place two days after Smith and Warner become eligible for selection.

It’s a tantalising offer from Pakistan that could provide Justin Langer’s World Cup preparations with a massive injection. However, there is a catch. Should Cricket Australia agree, it could put them on a collision course with Indian Premier League billionaires desperate for Smith and Warner to headline an already depleted tournament.

The PCB proposal understood to have been issued to CA is for a five-match series starting on March 31 and ending on April 13, perfectly timed to coincide with Smith and Warner becoming selectable again on March 29.

CA are yet to make any decisions on the proposal. Pakistan have nothing to lose. Their players are banned from the IPL and coach Mickey Arthur would relish a chance to play a series, most likely entirely in the UAE, on World Cup eve against a full-strength Australian line-up. However, the stakes are higher for CA, as bilateral international tours scheduled in the IPL window are a virtual no-no for the major nations trying to stay sweet with the Indian powerbrokers who run the game.

CA may feel more emboldened this year however, given they’ve signalled a World Cup training camp to clash with the back end of the IPL, which has prompted a black-listing of almost all Australian players at the auction, bar Smith and Warner, who are already signed. As much as Smith and Warner would jump at a chance to guarantee their places for the World Cup, the Pakistan schedule proves a whack to their back pockets.

It’s been estimated the pair have lost more than $7 million from the ball-tampering scandal and pulling out of their $2m IPL deals would be another blow. CA were leaning towards allowing Smith and Warner to play IPL when it was thought dates for the Pakistan series would preclude them from being available until the final two matches. But under a proposal allowing them to play the full series, the game changes.

Despite their superstar standing, there is a huge risk associated with bringing Smith and Warner back cold for a World Cup as their first international-standard competition for 14 months. Having five matches against Pakistan to re-establish their games and their relationships with teammates could be crucial. Smith and Warner are banned from training with the Australian squad until March 29, so if the proposed schedule was agreed to and they were selected, it’s possible they would have to train in isolation until two days before the first match. In other sports that might be a problem, but in cricket, as long as they’re getting net practice, there may be little concern.

It’s understood a decision over the proposed dates and the availability of Smith and Warner may become an issue for the Cricket Australia board. Pakistan have been pushing for Australia to play the first two matches of the series in Pakistan for the first time in 20 years but it’s understood that’s almost certainly not going to happen due to ongoing security fears.