Chennai Super Kings pacer Josh Hazlewood has pulled out of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League citing bubble fatigue and has instead set his sights on playing the Sheffield Shield final. Following Mitchell Marsh and Josh Philippe, Hazlewood is the third Australian to opt out of IPL 2021.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been dealt a huge blow a week ahead of the commencement of IPL 2021 as Josh Hazlewood has confirmed that he will not be partaking in the 2021 edition of the T20 extravaganza. Hazlewood, who featured in three games for the CSK side in IPL 2020, was retained by the three-time champions ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, but the 30-year-old has confirmed that he is opting out of the T20 competition in order to spend time with his family, back home in Australia.
Hazlewood, like several other Australian cricketers, has spent an undue amount of time inside bubbles and has since decided to give the IPL a miss in order to be fit and firing for the post-May stretch, which will see the Aussies tour a host of countries.
"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."
Pulling out of the IPL will, however, provide the 30-year-old with the opportunity to potentially feature in the Sheffield Shield final. New South Wales are currently second in the Shield table, behind Queensland, but the Blues, later this week, will have a golden chance to seal a spot in the final, with them taking on the table-toppers. Hazlewood confirmed that he wouldn’t be match-fit to feature in NSW’s clash versus Queensland on April 3, but insisted that he would try his best to be fit and available for the Sheffield Shield final, starting April 15, should the Blues qualify.
"I haven't been bowling a great deal with plans to play T20 cricket until after this game and also the weather wrecked my chances – I probably missed five sessions outdoors," Hazlewood said.
"The workloads are a bit too low … to play (both) Wollongong and the Shield final if we make it – hopefully I can use the next two weeks to build up and if we're in the Shield final I can play that."
Hazlewood is the third Australian player to opt-out of IPL 2021. His Sydney Sixers teammate Josh Philippe pulled out last month, while Mitchell Marsh confirmed his unavailability on Wednesday.