CSK receive huge blow 9 days before their IPL 2021 opener, Josh Hazlewood pulls out of tournament
- Josh Hazlewood has decided to give this year’s IPL a miss to keep himself fresh for the Ashes and the T20 World Cup lined up later this year. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will have a chance to name a replacement of Hazlewood at any point of time in the tournament.
9 days before Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) first match in IPL 2021 against last year's runner-up Delhi Capitals on April 10, they received a big blow in the form of Josh Hazlewood as the Australia quick decided to pull out of Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Hazlewood decided to give this year’s IPL a miss to keep himself fresh for the Ashes and the T20 World Cup lined up later this year. The Australia right-arm seamer said he now wanted to spend some time with his family away from the strict bio-bubble restrictions.
"It's been a long 10 months in bubbles and quarantine at different times, so I decided to have a rest from cricket and spend some time at home and in Australia in the next two months," Hazlewood told cricket.com.au.
Hazlewood, who was picked up by CSK ahead of last year’s IPL, played three matches for the MS Dhoni-led side in the UAE last year.
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"We've got a big winter ahead too. The West Indies is going to be a long tour, with Bangladesh (T20 tour) potentially thrown on the end of that.
"Then potentially the T20 World Cup leading into the Ashes, so it's a big 12 months, as it always is with Australia, and I want to give myself the best chance to be mentally and physically ready for that. That's the decision I've made, and it sits pretty well with me," Hazlewood added.
Like most top cricketers, Hazlewood too has been in bio-bubble for a long time – from July last year to be precise – since international cricket resumed after a gap due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
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Hazlewood is the third Australian cricketer after Josh Philippe (RCB) and Mitchell Marsh (SRH) to have pulled of IPL 2021, which begins on April 9.
CSK will have a chance to name a replacement of Hazlewood at any point of time in the tournament. There will be added pressure on the likes of Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo now as CSK CEO had already confirmed unavailability of Lungi Ngidi for at least their first match against DC.
CSK's loss is NSW's gain, with Hazlewood now available for the back end of the domestic season.
"I haven't been bowling a great deal with plans to play T20 cricket until after this game and also the weather wrecked my chances – I probably missed five sessions outdoors," Hazlewood said.
"The workloads are a bit too low … to play (both) Wollongong and the Shield final if we make it – hopefully I can use the next two weeks to build up and if we're in the Shield final I can play that."