WBBL: Sydney Thunders skipper Haynes to miss entire tournament

Rachael Haynes, the skipper of Women’s Big Bash League side Sydney Thunder, will not be available for the entire tournament due to spending time with her family, hamstring injury sustained during the series against India and border closures due to COVID-19 situation.

Rachael suffered a hamstring injury during the third ODI between Australia and India in Mackay late in September and was ruled out of the rest of the series including the pink-ball Test and the three T20Is in Gold Coast. A day after the first day of the Test, the 34-year-old returned to her home in Sydney, where her partner Leah Poulton welcomed their first child Hugo.

“I understand the schedule needed to be rejigged due to the ongoing border closures. However, the fact it means Sydney Thunder will be on the road for the entire duration of the WBBL – along with the mandatory 14 days in quarantine – left me with no alternative but to make myself unavailable. However, as I told the squad, I will be back if there’s changes to the current border restrictions of the tournament structure,” said Rachael in a statement by the club on Wednesday.

Rachael had always planned to miss the first part of the WBBL to be with her family. With the entire WBBL to be played in Tasmania followed by South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland, Rachael has made the decision to give the tournament a miss unless there are changes to the schedule or border conditions. Players from New South Wales and Victoria had to do 14 days of hotel quarantine in Hobart before joining their respective WBBL teams.

Rachael went to say that she will continue with her rehabilitation on the injured hamstring while spending time with Leah and Hugo. “As much as I want to be with the team, leaving Leah and Hugo at this stage for such a long period wouldn’t be fair on us as a family. I’ve spoken to all the players and staff, and they’ve been extremely supportive of my decision.”

“It just shows that in matters of the heart, the heart wins. However, I am doing my hamstring rehabilitation with the intention that I can put myself forward to play, but it would be much later in the season and contingent on state borders opening up.”

Sydney head coach Adam Griffith was sad about Rachael missing out on the competition but insists that there are options in the team to lead. “As disappointing as this is, I know Rachael will be watching to see who steps up to lead and who seizes their opportunities. However, the overwhelming feeling within the squad is this is a special time for Rachael, Leah, and Hugo, and all of us at Sydney Thunder couldn’t be happier for them.”

“I have no doubt that this squad, with the inclusion of our Indian internationals Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma, will be able to go out and continue with the performance and development Rachael has created under her stewardship.”

Apart from Rachael, her Australian team-mates Megan Schutt and Erin Burns will be missing the early matches for their respective teams Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Sixers for personal reasons.