Josh Hazlewood: The Australian speedster has become the third Australian player to opt out of Indian Premier League 2021.
Following the likes of batsman Josh Philippe and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has become the third player to opt out of the upcoming 14th season of the Indian Premier League.
After making his IPL debut for Chennai Super Kings last year, Hazlewood was all set to play his second IPL season beginning from April 9. In the 10 overs that Hazlewood bowled across three T20s last year, he had picked a solitary wicket at an average of 64.
The development was made public via an interview with cricket.com.au where Hazlewood talked about constantly spending time in bio-secure bubbles and instead wanting to spend time “at home with friends and family” as a primary reason for him deciding 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,” Hazlewood was quoted as saying by 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,” Hazlewood said.
Who should replace Josh Hazlewood at CSK for IPL 2021?
As far as Philippe and Marsh were concerned, their respective franchises in Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad had included New Zealand batsman Finn Allen and England batsman Jason Roy as replacements for the imminent cash-rich league.
With South Africa fast bowler Lungi Ngidi also set to miss the season opener for Super Kings, expect the franchise to name a replacement soon despite having overseas pace-bowling options such as Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo in their squad.
In addition to Ngidi, Curran and Bravo, Super Kings also have a couple of overseas spin-bowling options in Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner. With so many bowling options, CSK’s team management could also rope in a top-order overseas batsman in the name of a left-field decision. Assuming that they stick to the norm of bringing in a like-for-like replacement, below are four names which Super Kings might be interested in.
With the last of his 18 white-ball appearances for Australia coming during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Jason Behrendorff has it in him to trouble the opposition batsmen especially with the new ball.
In the recently concluded 10th season of the Big Bash League, Behrendorff’s 16 wickets for Perth Scorchers had come at an economy and strike rate of 7.03 and 19.8 respectively as his impressive show earned him a T20I recall for the tour of New Zealand.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 4, 2021
Behrendorff, 30, has also played four of his five IPL matches for Mumbai Indians at the Wankhade Stadium. With CSK set to play their first five matches at the same venue, the left-arm bowler could come good for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led franchise.
Having picked 24 wickets in 13 matches at an average of 16.79, an economy rate of 8.85 and a strike rate of 11.3, uncapped Australia pacer Ben Dwarshius was the second-highest wicket-taker in BBL 10. Having played all of his 69 T20s for Sydney Sixers, Dwarshius’ 85 wickets have come at an economy and strike rate of 8.05 and 17.13 respectively.
Another left-arm fast-bowling option, Dwarshius was bought by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in IPL 2018 auction but is yet to make his IPL debut.
Another uncapped Australian bowler who had done well in the last BBL, Wes Agar had picked 22 wickets in 15 matches for Adelaide Strikers at an average of 20.77, an economy rate of 8.35 and a strike rate of 14.9.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 21, 2021
Australia all-rounder Ashton Agar’s younger brother, Wes can be picked solely on the basis of current form as the right-arm pacer has started to make a name for himself especially in T20s.
Tim Southee, who is likely to be awaiting a call for the toss as I write this, can be Hazlewood’s like-for-like replacement in its truest sense. Much like Hazlewood, Southee is also not known for his pace but can swing the new ball at will.
If the third New Zealand vs Bangladesh T20I doesn’t get abandoned due to rain, Southee will be leading New Zealand for the 18th time in T20Is. Not that Dhoni requires any leadership aid but even he wouldn’t mind a player who comprises of a 13-year experience of playing international cricket.
Agreed that T20I cricket had started not long before his debut, the fact that Southee is the second-highest wicket-taker in the format since then speaks highly about his underrated skill in the format at the highest level.
Southee, 32, who last played in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2019, has also represented Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in the biggest T20 league after making his IPL debut for CSK in 2011.