Australia quick Josh Hazlewood has opted out of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) just eight days before the scheduled start of the cash-rich tournament. Chennai Super Kings, his franchise, will play their first match on 10 April against Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
Hazlewood was set to leave for India with Australia's IPL-bound players today. But having been in bio-secure bubbles from last August 2020 till January 2021, the pacer decided to spend some time with his family. With the Ashes and T20 World Cup in sight, the 30-year-old wanted to keep himself fresh.
"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. 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," cricket.com.au quoted Hazlewood as saying.
"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," he added.
Hazlewood joins fellow Australians — Royal Challenger Bangalore's Josh Phillipe and Sunrisers Hyderabad's Mitchell Marsh — in pulling out of the tournament. While Philippe opted out due to personal reasons, Marsh, just yesterday, pointed at bubble fatigue. Phillipe and Marsh will be replaced by Finn Allen and Jason Roy respectively.
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