Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has opted out of the 2021 Indian Premier League season to recharge his batteries ahead of another big year of international cricket.
Hardus Viljoen , the South African fast bowler , who is currently present in the CSK group as a net bowler , replaces him in CSK squad as a like of like replacement .
Hazlewood was set to depart with Australia’s IPL-bound players today and link back up with franchise Chennai Super Kings, with whom he played last season when the tournament was staged in the UAE in late 2020.
But having been in various bio-secure bubbles and hubs from last August to January this year, the 30-year-old has decided to forgo the IPL to refresh and spend time at home with friends and family.
“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 on Wednesday.
“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, and his national teammates, were put under restrictions from July last year before he left for England with Australia’s limited-overs team where he was in strict bio-secure lockdown before heading to the UAE 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 which also contained rivals India.
The bubble with India ended in late January and it wasn’t meant to be long before 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 NSW at domestic level.
The right-armer follows Josh Philippe and Mitchell Marsh in withdrawing from the IPL.