'We were not prepared for it' - CSK on losing Josh Hazlewood ahead of IPL 2021

‘We were not prepared for it’ – CSK on losing Josh Hazlewood ahead of IPL 2021

CSK are yet to decide on a replacement for the Australia pacer.

Josh Hazlewood and MS Dhoni
Josh Hazlewood and MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Just like last year, Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) pre-season training has been marred once again by another player withdrawal. CSK’s preparation for IPL 2020 was affected when two of their senior players – Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh – pulled out of the entire tournament citing personal reasons. In their absence, CSK struggled and failed to qualify for playoffs for the first time in their history.

And ahead of IPL 2021, CSK’s preparations have been hit once again as their Australian recruit Josh Hazlewood has pulled out of this year’s competition. The right-arm pacer has decided to skip IPL 2021 in order to stay in shape for Australia’s upcoming calendar. He became the third Australian player, after Josh Philippe and Mitchell Marsh, to withdraw ahead of this season.

The 30-year old has been jumping in and out of bio-secure bubbles since July last year. In July, Australia toured England before Hazlewood flew to the UAE for the IPL. It was followed by the long home series against India comprising three ODIs, three T20Is, and four Tests. And in order to avoid another long stay in the bio-bubble this year, Hazlewood has decided to skip IPL 2021.

“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,” Hazlewood told cricket.com.au.

We have our bases covered: CSK official

Josh Hazlewood’s sudden decision has taken CSK by surprise. According to a senior official of the franchise, CSK were not ready for such a situation. Hazlewood’s departure is being seen by many as a huge loss for the three-time IPL champions. The official, however, said that CSK are yet to come to a conclusion regarding a potential replacement for the Australian and also stated that the team has all its bases covered.

“It is a sudden development and we were not prepared for it. We will look at various options before arriving at a decision. But we have our bases covered. So if the team management feels we don’t need a replacement, we might not seek one,” a senior CSK official told the Times of India.

Meanwhile, CSK will be looking to put up a better show in the upcoming season after their disastrous campaign in IPL 2020. Last year, they finished at the seventh spot in the eight-team competition. CSK have been bolstered by the return of Raina as well as some new additions like Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham.