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CSK pacer Hazlewood opts out of IPL 2021

Melbourne: Australia and Chennai Super Kings pacer Josh Hazlewood on Thursday pulled out of the Indian Premier League 2021 to take a small break from cricket and keep himself fresh for the Ashes and the T20 World Cup later this year.

The 30-year-old, who played three matches for CSK in the IPL 2020, has been a part of multiple bio-secure bubbles from August 2020 to January this year.

Hazlewood was expected to travel to India with other Australia’s IPL-bound players and join the franchise but decided to skip the cash-rich league, which will start on April 9 and will be played till May 30.

With a busy international season coming up, he wants to give himself “the best chance to be mentally and physically ready”.

‘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 said to cricket.com.au.

‘We’ve got a big winter ahead. 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,’ he added.

With the pulling out of the IPL, Hazlewood is now available for the back end of the domestic season. He is expected to be available for NSW for the Sheffield Shield final if they qualify.

‘I haven’t been bowling a great deal … workloads are a bit too low … hopefully I can use the next two weeks to build up and if we’re in the Shield final I can play that,’ he said.

Incidentally, two of Australia’s players – Josh Philippe and Mitchell Marsh – have already opted out of the IPL 2021 season.

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