‘There’s a bit of concern’: Josh Hazlewood about joining CSK squad for IPL 2020 after Covid-19 cases
With the spotlight firmly on Chennai Super Kings due to multiple Covid-positive cases and confusion over experienced campaigner Suresh Raina’s sudden decision to fly back home from UAE citing ‘personal reasons’, the franchise’s new recruit, Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood admitted being ‘concerned’ before joining the squad for IPL 2020.
“Obviously there’s a bit of concern there,” Hazlewood said. “Ideally would have been great had there been no cases. They (the affected) are in quarantine now and I think that finishes up in next few days.”
The right-arm seamer who is set to play his first season in the IPL said he will consult Cricket Australia before leaving for the UAE.
“It’s tough to say, to be honest, things change pretty quickly. We’ll wait till things start to clear up more as we get closer to the start of IPL. We’ll touch base with Cricket Australia, have a chat and then see,” said Hazlewood who is currently in England with the Australian limited-overs side who are set to play three T20Is beginning from September 4 followed by three ODIs.
The three-time IPL winners and last year’s runners-up, CSK, have been forced to delay their training session in Dubai after several members, including two cricketers, tested positive for Covid-19. The positive results also raised question marks over the five-day camp held by CSK in Chennai before leaving for Dubai.
The 29-year-old Aussie pacer however stood firmly by the franchise, saying CSK members have been in constant touch with him and the other players.
“Yeah we have a WhatsApp group with the franchise (CSK), discussions take place there, I am quite informed about what’s happening,” he said.
Apart from Hazlewood, 12 other members of Australia’s 29-member squad currently in England are set to take part in the 13th edition of IPL which will begin from September 19.
Captain Aaron Finch, Josh Phillipe and Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders), David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Steven Smith (Royals), Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab), Mitchell Marsh (Sunrisers), Alex Carey Marcus Stoinis, and Daniel Sams (Delhi Capitals), and Andrew Tye (Chennai Super Kings) are expected to fly directly to UAE after their ODI series in England ends three days before the tournament opener.
When asked about the mood in the Australian camp regarding IPL, Hazlewood said the detailed discussions will take place closer to their departure. “Obviously IPL is next (After the England tour) and then we move back to Australia and will see. All our folks in this tour at the moment who will play IPL, will think more about that once the tournament comes closer,” said Hazlewood who was picked by the franchise for his base price of INR 2 crores.
The right-armer sounded confident of CSK’s chances this year despite being hit by Covid-19 before the start of the tournament.
“As far as chances are concerned, CSK are always a very consistent side. They are always in the semis aren’t they? They are always contenders for the final. It will be my first season there, I assume there will be no difference this year, good chance they will be in the finals or there and there about this year too. They are always a strong side, they always want to win it, a big franchise,” he added.
Hazlewood along with the Australia and England players with an IPL contract are expected to be available from the first match of the IPL. RCB and Rajasthan Royals owners had confirmed that there was no need for them to be in quarantine for a week as they will be coming from a bio-secure environment in England.
(Watch the 1st T20I between Australia and England on 4th September 2020, 10:30 pm onwards, Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) channels)