The pace bowler aims to be in his best mental and physical form ahead of the long international calendar.
Australia and Chennai Super Kings fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has pulled out of the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League to take a small break from cricket and keep himself fresh for the Ashes and the T20 World Cup later this year.
Hazlewood was to depart with other Australia’s IPL-bound players and join CSK but decided to skip the cash-rich league, which will start on April 9 and go on till May 30, and spend time at home for the next two months.
The 30-year-old played three games for CSK in the IPL last season when the tournament was staged in the U.A.E in late 2020.
“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 was quoted as saying by 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 at the end of that. Then potentially the T20 World Cup leading into the Ashes, so it’s a big 12 months,” he said.
“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.
The right-armer follows compatriots Josh Philippe (RCB) and Mitchell Marsh (SRH) in withdrawing from the IPL, while some other Australians may consider opting out also, according to the report.
Hazlewood has been under restrictions from July last year before leaving for England with Australia’s limited-overs team where he was in strict bio-secure lockdown before heading to the U.A.E for the IPL where again safety protocols were tight.
His return to Australia in November started with two weeks in hotel isolation in Adelaide before moving into the men’s international bubble along with the visiting Indians for the Test series.
The bubble with India ended in late January and Hazlewood was set to quarantine again having been named in Australia’s Test squad to travel to South Africa. But that tour was postponed due to safety reasons and he has since been representing New South Wales at domestic level.
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,” the pacer said.