Sydney Thunder skipper Rachael Haynes likely to miss entire WBBL07

Rachael Haynes excited about the semifinal clash against Brisbane Heat

Sydney Thunder skipper Rachael Haynes. © Getty Images

The defending champions Sydney Thunder might not have the services of their skipper Rachael Haynes in the upcoming season of Women's Big Bash League.

Haynes has said that she could not participate in the tournament with the border restrictions and mandatory quarantines as she is on parental leave and still recovering from the hamstring injury she picked up during the ODI series against India.

"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," she said.

Currently staying in New South Wales with her partner Leah Poulton, who gave birth to their son Hugo, Haynes would have to go through mandatory 14-day quarantine if she left the state to play in the WBBL. The tournament was rescheduled due to border restrictions and now would be played in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland. As a result, Haynes said that she would not be participating in the WBBL unless there could be a change in the structure and schedule, which seems unlikely at this point.

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"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. However, as I told the squad, I will be back if there are changes to the current border restrictions of the tournament structure."

The Thunder skipper said that the players and staff have been extremely supportive of my decision, adding, "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. It would be much later in the season and contingent on state borders opening up."

Head coach Trevor Griffin said the Thunder would miss Haynes, but emphasised that it was proof to her leadership traits that the players are ready to step up and take responsibility. “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," he said.

“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. All of us at Sydney Thunder couldn’t be happier for them," he concluded.