IPL 2023: RCB's Josh Hazlewood to miss the initial half
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Josh Hazlewood is set to miss the initial phase of the upcoming 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL), starting March 23. The Australian international is currently recovering from an Achilles problem which kept him out of the Test and ODI series versus India. As per cricket.com.au, he is hopeful to participate in the latter half of the season. Here's more.
Why does this story matter?
- As Hazlewood's stocks in T20 cricket have gone up lately, his unavailability would be a great dent in RCB's plans.
- Currently the fourth-ranked T20I bowler, Hazlewood has endured a frustrating run of injuries in the last two years.
- He suffered the Achilles injury after bowling on damp run-ups at the SCG Test versus South Africa in January.
Test cricket remains Hazlewood's top priority
Though Hazlewood is keen to serve RCB, Test cricket remains his top priority. "As fun as T20 is and as lucrative as it is, I find it still plays second fiddle to Test cricket," he said in February. With the ICC World Test Championship final and the Ashes taking place later this year, there's a probability of Hazlewood missing the entire IPL 2023 season.
His numbers in IPL
Hazlewood snapped 20 wickets in 12 games last season with an economy rate of 8.1. Overall, he has claimed 32 scalps in 24 outings in IPL with his best figures reading 4/25. Meanwhile, England left-arm pacer Reece Topley seems the front-runner to take Hazlewood's spot in the XI. RCB bought him for Rs. 1.9 crore in the 2023 auction event.
Other injury concerns in the RCB camp
Besides Hazlewood, RCB are also sweating over the availability of Rajat Patidar and Glenn Maxwell. The former is currently recovering from his heel injury and might miss a few initial games. Meanwhile, Maxwell missed the final two games of the recently-concluded India ODI series due to a leg injury. The dasher said he will take a "number of months" to regain full fitness.
Key details about IPL 2023
Defending champions Gujarat Titans will meet Chennai Super Kings on March 31 in the tournament opener of IPL 2023. Faf du Plessis' RCB will kick-start their campaign against Mumbai Indians (MI) on April 2. IPL will return to its familiar home and away format with all ten teams scheduled to play seven games at their home venue and seven away.