Three-time Indian Premier League champions received another blow ahead of the start of the IPL season 14. After top Aussie pacer, Josh Hazlewood pulled out of the IPL just days before the start of the tournament, now the Chennai based IPL franchise is finding it hard to replace him. According to a report in TOI, Australia’s Billy Stanlake and England’s pacer Reece Topley have rejected the offer to join the IPL franchise due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in India.
The report added, other fringe players, who were also approached by the franchise, have so far not accepted CSK’s offer. In addition, a member from the CSK content team also tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, however, as per reports the concerned individual was not in contact with any team members.
“Many of them have contracts with English county teams and the permissions aren’t forthcoming due to the rising number of Covid cases. We may have to go for a wildcard and may get one soon enough. But the problems do persist,” a source close to the development was quoted as saying to The Times of India.
Josh Hazlewood pulled out of the tournament citing fatigue. The Aussie decided to keep himself fresh for the Ashes and then the T20 World Cup later this year, and wanted to spend time with his family instead.
“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
“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.
However, among all this, CSK has a reason to rejoice because Ravindra Jadeja is up and running for the IPL after the injury layoff. “He batted and bowled in the nets and looked pretty good at that. He will definitely be a part of the playing XI,” the source added.
Covid-19 has slowly crept into the IPL this season as well, on Sunday, Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday confirmed that their opener Devdutt Padikkal had tested positive for COVID-19, revealing he is in mandatory quarantine at his home in Bangalore. Apart from him Delhi Capitals’ Axar Patel also tested positive for the virus and so did ten ground staff at Wankhede Stadium.
The IPL season 14 starts with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on April 9.