Low on Josh, Australian Hazlewood exits IPL

Melbourne, April 1

Leading Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has decided to put nation over club, pulling out of the IPL in order to keep himself fresh for the Ashes and the T20 World Cup later this year.

One big factor behind his decision was the bio-secure restrictions under which he has lived for several months since July last year.

The general rule about the cash-rich IPL is that players don’t pull out of it, even if playing and constant travel in the Indian summer can be very difficult. However, Hazlewood, who was signed up with Chennai Super Kings, has decided to follow the precedent set by fellow Aussie fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who had pulled out of IPL 2019 in order to “keep fresh” to play with the national team.

Hazlewood was to depart with other Australian IPL-bound players and join CSK but decided to skip the league, which will be played from April 9 to May 30, and spend time at home. The 30-year-old played three games for CSK in the IPL last season when the tournament was staged in the UAE in late 2020. “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 said.

“We’ve got a big winter ahead. 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,” he added. “As it always is with Australia, and I want to give myself the best chance to be mentally and physically ready for that.”

The fast bowler follows compatriots Josh Philippe (RCB) and Mitchell Marsh (SRH) in withdrawing from the IPL, while some other Australians may consider opting out also, according to reports. — TNS, agencies

Months in bubble

Josh Hazlewood has been under restrictions from July last year before leaving for England with Australia’s limited-overs team where he was in strict bio-secure lockdown before heading to the UAE for the IPL where again safety protocols were tight. His return to Australia in November started with two weeks in hotel isolation in Adelaide before moving into the men’s international bubble along with the visiting Indians for the Test series. The bubble with India ended in late January and Hazlewood was set to quarantine again having been named in Australia’s Test squad to travel to South Africa. But that tour was postponed due to safety reasons and he has since been representing New South Wales at domestic level.

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