Australia pacer Billy Stanlake and English left-arm seamer Reece Topley were approached by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as a possible replacement for Josh Hazlewood, but the duo reportedly turned down the offer. Josh Hazlewood followed Mitchell Marsh’s path to pull out in the last minute of the IPL auction, citing bubble fatigue and his ambition of keeping himself fit for the Ashes 2021, scheduled at the end of the year. With all elite pacers all but taken, CSK approached Queensland pacer Billy Stanlake but the 26-year-old was not interested.
The CSK management further checked with Reece Topley, the English pacer who was recently in India as part of the English ODI squad, but according to the Times of India reports, he also turned down the offer. The speculated reason is because of the rising Covid-19 cases in India with multiple players so far testing positive for the virus. "Many of them have contracts with English county teams and the permissions aren't forthcoming due to the rising number of Covid cases. We may have to go for a wildcard and may get one soon enough. But the problems do persist," a source close to the developments in the CSK camp told TOI.
The IPL is slated to kick start on April 9 in Chennai, with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). CSK will play their first match against Delhi Capitals (DC) on April 10 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.