Rachael Haynes in action. ©ICC

Australia’s vice-captain Rachael Haynes’s career has seen highs and lows, and they’ve all have one thing in common, The Ashes.

If leading the Australian team to retain the Ashes at home in 2017 is her highest Ashes memory, then losing her place in the squad during 2013 Ashes was the lowest point of her career.

She has been part of the Australian team that has won the World Cups, but she still regrets not featuring in Meg Lanning’s squad that dramatically won the Ashes in England in 2015.

She was dropped in 2013 series after poor performances in ODIs as Australia lost five consecutive matches to lose the series. Haynes did not feature in the side until early 2017 and she did contemplate quitting the game for good in 2016. But she decided to give Green and Gold dream an another chance and came back with a bang.

She impressed the selectors with her leadership potential, as they installed her as injured Meg Lanning’s replacement for the 2017 home Ashes. Under her guidance, Australia retained the trophy they’d won back in 2015 when the series finished on eight points apiece.

Now she is travelling to England determined to erase turbulent memories of 2013 series and failed World Cup campaign of 2017. As she acknowledges England’s potential, she is also bullish on their own prospects.

Speaking to cricket.com.au, Haynes said, “One thing we know about England is they are a strong team and at home they are pretty formidable and enjoy their home conditions.

“We saw that at the 50-over World Cup (in 2017) as well. They’ve got a strong squad and they’re going to be tough to beat but we’re definitely up for the challenge and more determined than ever to form some kind of dominance at international level.”

Haynes made her Test debut in 2009 at at Worcester and made a fighting knock of 98 to rescue Australia from the brink of a disaster. She was dismissed in the final over of the first day in that match as the nervous nineties caught up with her.

“Making my Test debut as well and having Allan Border present my Test cap, it was one of those things you spend your whole career working towards so to when you attain one of those goals it’s something very memorable and very special.”

Last year she took part in the domestic English Super League, where she turned out for Loughborough Lightning alongside Australian teammate Elyse Villani. Lightning marched into the finals as league leaders but eventually they lost to Surrey Stars.

Haynes had a great tournament where she scored 324 runs in 10 matches with a strike rate of 128.06. As Australia will begin defence of the Ashes with a week long training and practice matches in Loughborough, Haynes is eager to return to the town.

“I was over in England last summer and it was beautiful, it only rained for two days,” she said. “I really enjoyed time in Loughborough, so it will be nice to go back and touch base with a few people over there.”

And when it comes to the action on field, only one result will be acceptable.

“We finished last season really well, winning the T20 World Cup and having a good series against New Zealand, so we’re really keen to push that’s possible for our team,” she said.

“And that starts with the Ashes.”

Click here for Australia’s squad for The Ashes and the complete fixture list.

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