Southampton: Australian pacer Kane Richardson said pulling out of the upcoming IPL was difficult but definitely a right decision as he didn't want to miss the birth of his first child in the wake of travel restrictions due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The 29-year-old, who was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 4 crore in the IPL auction last December, had opted out of the tournament to be with his wife for the birth of his first child.
RCB named Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa as his replacement for the cash-rich event starting 19 September in the UAE.
"It's always difficult to withdraw from a competition like the IPL, it's the pinnacle domestic competition in the world so it wasn't an easy decision, but when I sat down and thought about it, it was definitely the right one," Richardson told media on Wednesday.
"With all that's going on in the world at the moment and the challenge of getting home on time for something as unpredictable as the birth of a child, I couldn't risk missing that."
Currently in England for Australia's limited-overs series, Richardson plans to head home to Adelaide to be with his family after undertaking the mandatory two week quarantine following the conclusion of the tour later this month.
"I'm disappointed to miss the IPL but hopefully there are opportunities ahead for that," he said.
"I don't think I'd be able to live with missing the birth of my first child … I can be home and support my wife as best I can, and hopefully those (cricket) opportunities come around again."
Richardson has featured in the last nine T20Is for Australia and is now taking inspiration from his past performances to get into the playing XI as a third pacer behind Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.
"Coming off five months of doing nothing you don't really know until we start, but if I look back in the last 12 months, I feel like I've done the job in the games we've played," he said.
Australia became world's No 1 team in the T20 format in May this year and Richardson said the touring side has plenty of options in the pace department to help them retain the spot.
"It's been a nice period for our T20 team and it's been nice personally to be part of it. You never feel 100 percent comfortable behind those guys but hopefully my name is called Friday night and I can come in and do a job," he said.
"But there's a fair group of fast bowlers here with a big touring party so I'm sure whoever gets the nod will do a really good job behind those two.
"Everyone brings a little bit of variety and their individual strengths, think that's what you want in a bowling attack. I feel like we have all bases covered."
The first T20 between Australia and England will be played here on Friday.
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As many as 14 Australian players still remain in the event, including Steve Smith (Delhi Capitals), David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad) and Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders) as well as coach Ricky Ponting (DC) and Simon Katich (RCB).
Ravichandran Ashwin and some Australian players have withdrawn from IPL 2021 amid the escalating COVID-19 crisis in India.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli reached Mumbai on Tuesday, the day IPL-14 was indefinitely suspended due to multiple COVID cases in its bio-bubble. By Thursday early morning, all the other playing and non-playing staff had also left for their onward destinations.