After Josh Hazlewood pulled out of the IPL 2021, Chennai Super Kings(CSK) were stranded in a situation similar to that of 2020, where two of their budding youngsters Deepak Chahar and Rituraj Gaikwad contracted the novel coronavirus, and CSK did not have a proper backup to replace them.
IPL Season 13 was the first instance where CSK not only failed to reach the playoffs but were also left at the second last position in the table. With Hazlewood citing his hectic Australian schedule as the reason to omit IPL 2021, CSK had no other option but to find his replacement.
Australia is scheduled to have a long West Indies tour followed by a Bangladesh tour, giving way to the T-20 World Cup in India, followed by one of the most spectacular events in cricketing history, The Ashes.
After being left in deep waters, CSK tried to contact Billy Stanlake, another Australian paceman and a premium English frontliner Reece Topley, but unfortunately couldn’t rope either of them. Both rejected the offer citing the rising covid-19 cases in India. To add to CSK’s woes, a CSK content team member has also tested positive for Covid-19.
Other fringe players were also approached but to no avail. “Many of them have contracts with English County sides and the permissions are not forthcoming due to the rise in covid-19 cases. We may have to go for a wildcard but may get it soon enough. But the problem persists,” a source close to the development told TOI.
But the ray of light for CSK is that Ravindra Jadeja, one of the top all-rounders at the highest level for India, has recovered from injury.
Not only CSK, but other teams have also fallen prey to COVID-19. While Royal Challengers Bangalore(RCB) opener Devdutt Padikkal has tested positive for coronavirus and is quarantining at home, Delhi Capitals (DC) spinner Axar Patel has also contracted the virus.
CSK are scheduled to play their opening match against DC on April 10.