With the COVID-19 cases in India growing at the fastest pace in the world, Australian speedster Josh Hazlewood has revealed that the fast-growing COVID-19 infection numbers were the main reason behind his decision to pull out of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
India’s tally of recorded COVID-19 cases comes close to nearly 12 million – the third-highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil with more than 100,000 new cases being reported daily in the country led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer to withdraw from the IPL 2021.
Before Hazlewood, Josh Philippe (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Mitchell Marsh (Sunrisers Hyderabad) have also pulled out of the IPL 14 which will start from Friday (April 9) in Chennai.
Hazlewood told Sportstar: “Covid concern was the main reason I pulled out.”
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The pacer has also insisted that he has “no real issue” with the bio-secure bubbles despite he was in the restricted environment put in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic from August 2020 to January 2021.
He further noted, “It all depends on how tight the bubbles are. Some are easier than others, and obviously, quarantine is a different story entirely. Everyone is different. I have no real issues.”
Pulling out of the IPL 14 meant Hazlewood will have to wait for more than 3 months to play an international fixture while till December 2021 to play Test cricket as Australia didn’t qualify for the World Test Championship final, but he isn’t worried about the long break.
The 30-year-old said, “I’ve found that I’ve gotten used to it over the years. The international schedule is so full-on with all the different formats. We have only just recently had a big gap between Test matches due to Covid. I have no issue with it, and if I’m playing cricket, no matter the format, I’ll be fine.”
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Hazlewood is currently playing in the Marsh One Day Cup – Australia’s domestic 50-over competition and he is happy with the opportunity to play with New South Wales. He added, “We have two finals in the space of a week, which is exciting and would be a great way to finish off the season.”
The speedster also believes that Steve Smith – who is set to play for Delhi Capitals in the upcoming IPL 2021, is in a great place now to lead Australia again in Test cricket.
Josh signed off, “He has a broader experience and has been through a lot of challenging situations in the last few years. I think he is probably in a better position now rather than when he first became captain.”