New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Thursday suffered a massive setback days before the beginning of the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after their senior pacer Josh Hazlewood opted out of the tournament due to "hectic international" schedule.

"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. 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," Hazlewood said.

"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," he added.

Hazlewood's decision to pull out of the IPL is a massive setback for the CSK which is looking to make a strong comeback in IPL 2021, especially after its poor show in last year's tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With Hazlewood pulling out of IPL 2021, here are a few players who could be selected by the CSK for this year's tournament:

Billy Stanlake:

Billy Stanlake is an Australian T20 specialist and is considered to be the front runner to get selected in the CSK. Stanlake, who is known for his ability to pick wickets at regular intervals, had remained unsold in the 2021 IPL auction but can help CSK win their fourth title.

Mitchell McClenaghan:

Mitchell McClenaghan was an integral part of the Mumbai Indians squad but the New Zealand pacer had found no bidders in the IPL 2021 auctions. McClenaghan, however, has earned a name for his knack for picking wickets in T20s throughout the world and can be a good option for the CSK for the 14th season of the IPL.

Tim Southee:

Tim Southee is New Zealand's premier fast bowler since 2011 and is known for his ability to swing the ball both ways. Southee has a decent T20 record and could be picked by the CSK as Hazlewood's replacement.

Sean Abbott:

Sean Abbott, who went unsold in the IPL 2021 auctions, could be selected by the CSK as a replacement for Hazlewood. Though the Australian pacer has played just two IPL games, he has been performing consistently in the Big Bas league and can get wickets for the CSK in crucial middle overs.

Sheldon Cottrell:

Sheldon Cottrell, the tall West Indies pacer, had a disappointing IPL 2020 but he is someone who cannot be ignored due to his ability to ball yorkers and pick wickets at crucial intervals. Cottrell also has a decent T20 record and the CSK management could consider him as Hazlewood's replacement.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma