Thunder star Haynes to miss WBBL season

Sydney Thunder skipper Rachael Haynes is likely to miss the entire WBBL season.
Sydney Thunder skipper Rachael Haynes is likely to miss the entire WBBL season.

Sydney Thunder will almost certainly be without captain Rachael Haynes for the entirety of their WBBL title defence.

Haynes and partner Leah Poulton recently celebrated the birth of their first child Hugo.

The star batter, who is currently recovering from the hamstring injury that forced her to miss Australia's day-night Test against India, originally planned on missing the opening rounds of the WBBL.

But border restrictions and changes to the WBBL schedule mean Haynes would need to spend a fortnight in hotel quarantine to take any part in the Twenty20 tournament that begins on Thursday.

"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" the skipper said.

"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.

"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."

The WBBL season is starting in Tasmania, while games will later be held in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Cricket Australia is yet to lock in venues for the finals, wanting to offer home-ground advantage like a regular season if border restrictions permit.

It makes it highly unlikely that Haynes will have a chance to play, unless states open their borders to NSW earlier than expected.

The Thunder are yet to name a stand-in skipper, with 19-year-old Hannah Darlington among the candidates.

Darlington made history in February when she became NSW's youngest captain - female or male - in history.

Thunder coach Trevor Griffin admitted Haynes' absence was a blow.

"As disappointing as this is, I know Rachael will be watching to see who steps up to lead and who seizes their opportunities," Griffin said.

"The overwhelming feeling within the squad is this is a special time for Rachael, Leah and Hugo."

Australian Associated Press