With key injuries disrupting the balance of the side, Australia middle-order batter Rachael Haynes said she is ready to fill whatever role is required for the ODI side ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand next year. The 33-year-old has been shunted up and down the order of Australia’s one-day line-up in her 57-game career so far, but recently posted her maiden century in the format against Sri Lanka last October.
Haynes has batted in every position from one to eight in her ODI career. She has scored 948 runs opening the innings at an average of 37.92, compared to the 666 at 30.27 in the middle order – the vast majority of which have come at No.5.
“I don’t have my heart set on one position in particular but I certainly feel like as a batter that I bring, flexibility in terms of what Matt (Mott, the head coach) and Meg (Lanning, the captain) want the team line-up to look like,” Haynes said during a media interaction on Tuesday (May 5).
“Since I’ve come back into the team the last couple of years, and particularly that ODI set-up, I’ve played different roles. We’ve also got Ellyse Perry coming back from injury, and she’s tracking really well, but that might come into the decision-making as well in terms of the best balance for the side. From my point of view, I’ll certainly fill whatever role Meg and Motty think is best for the team.”
Haynes had spent three years out of the one-day set-up before returning in February 2017 in a middle-order role. In the absence of regular ODI opener Nicole Bolton, she was moved up to open alongside Alyssa Healy in February last year for an ODI series against New Zealand before being moved back into a middle-order role for the Ashes series in England a few months later.
The ODI World Cup trophy is a glaring omission from the current Australian women’s trophy cabinet, having lost in the semi-final of the 2017 tournament. It was a heartbreak that has repeatedly proven to be the genesis of the current team that has dominated the international circuit since then.
“That 2017 tournament left a mark on our group and was a line in the sand moment for the team in terms of wanting to change and become better players and a better team,” said Haynes, who played only two of Australia’s eight games in the tournament.
“Over the last couple of years you’ve seen our team go to another level, you’ve seen individuals improve out of sight. You only need to look at Beth Mooney who has evolved to become one of the (top) batters in the world over the last couple of years. Healy’s taken her game to another level.”
“And we’ve unearthed some amazing talent as well with Tayla (Vlaeminck) with the ball upfront. There have been some really good positive signs for our team and a lot of growth since that moment. The one thing we’re missing in our cupboard is that one-day World Cup, so there’s a real desire from our team to go out there and try and obtain that trophy. It was a really tough moment in the sheds after we lost that semi and fuelled a lot of desire in the group. That will be unchanged heading into this season,” added Haynes.
With the World Cup meant to start on February 6 and no confirmation about when the game will start after the COVID-19, the players have all the time to think about their next move as a unit and as individuals. However, despite ICC’s stand to go ahead with the scheduled tournaments, uncertainty still lingers around the men’s T20 World Cup, due to be played in Australia in October and November this year, while bumping it back to that February window has been mooted as an option.
While Mott’s side wait to see how things pan out, Haynes admits that the group has shown the ability to adapt to overcome obstacles and the same blueprint that saw them storm to the T20 World Cup will serve them well in the one-day format.
“We’ve had some great success in this format of the game. In terms of a game plan and how we take on that format, it doesn’t change too much,” Haynes said. “We want to make sure we’re nice and attacking and aggressive with bat or ball and take the game on. “That’s been our blueprint over the last couple of years and seen us have an enormous amount of success. So I’d definitely like our team to continue that and push what’s possible in terms of our game, the scores we can put out, and what we can defend as well.”