Calling Indian Premier League the strongest T20 competition in the world, right up their with the Big Bash League, Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood has credited the annual league for moulding ‘better players’.

While praising the league, Hazlewood, who has a contract with Chennai Super Kings, also admitted players will be better off playing in IPL even if it requires them missing some part of domestic cricket.

“There are a few things to fall into place yet but the IPL is such a huge part of the year for a lot of players and probably the strongest T20 competition in the world, up there with the Big Bash, and you learn a lot about how to play your T20 cricket and how to play in those conditions,” Hazlewood was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“You’ve seen guys come out of it much better players so there’s a lot of positives to it, so if that takes a few games off us playing for New South Wales in the build-up to the international summer that’s a tough call, (and) probably comes back to the individual,” he added.

There have been fears over whether the forced break due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will be tough on fast bowlers as the heavy workload once cricket resumes could result in injuries. However, Hazlewood reckons that maintaining fitness and continuing training during the break will keep them in good shape.

“As long as we can train during that period it will be okay, it’s if we come back and we can’t train during that two-week period,” he said. “We’ve built these loads up as fast bowlers then two weeks really hurts us coming into a summer of Test cricket.”

Hazlewood, who plays all three formats, said he will only need a couple of games to be Test match ready.

“As far as red-ball ball cricket goes I feel I only need one, maximum two games, to get ready for a Test. There have been summers where we’ve come from a white-ball tour and only played one (red-ball game) and it’s been fine,” he said.

England pacer Jofra Archer was punished for breaching biosecurity protocol and Hazlewood said it’s the responsibility of players to follow the strict guidelines.

Absolutely. I think Jofra is one example and there’s been examples in the NRL and AFL as well. Just by hugging a mate in the crowd you miss a week,” Hazlewood said. “So we’ve got to keep those strict guidelines in place to get the sport to go ahead. So we’ll obviously learn from that mistake.”