The coronavirus pandemic does not seem anywhere close to be dead and buried. While the number of cases and the positivity rate had gone down till February-March, the second and third wave are spreading quicker than the first one in certain places. India is also recording record number of COVID-19 infections day after day with the state of Maharashtra being severely affected. Even the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises are now feeling the impact of the pandemic and Chennai Super Kings are no exception.
Difficult to get replacement for Hazlewood
The team had several of its players and squad members test positive for the dreaded infection before the start of IPL 2020. However, as the cases are increasing in Maharashtra's Mumbai, they are finding it tough to find players willing to don their jersey in IPL 2021. Australian cricketer Billy Stanlake and England's left arm pacer Reece Topley have reportedly refused an offer from CSK to join the squad as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood. One of the primary reasons for their decision to deny the MS Dhoni-led side is the Coronavirus surge in India. With over 6.50 lakh active cases, the country remains one of the worst hit in the world.
County sides aren't giving permissions
"Many of them have contracts with English county teams and the permissions aren't forthcoming due to the rising number of Covid cases," a source close to the development told TOI. "We may have to go for a wildcard and may get one soon enough. But the problems do persist," the source further said.
The team, however, is on its toes to ensure that the situation like last year isn't repeated when even its first-team members contracted infection affecting their practice, team balance and performance.