Following the success of the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Series, Australia skipper captain Rachael Haynes hopes to see sold out stadiums the next time the Ashes are up for grabs in Australia.
More than 12,000 fans attended the historic day-night Test at North Sydney Oval while the first ODI at Allan Border Field required additional seating to be installed such was the demand for tickets.
Healthy crowds watched a brace of matches in both Coffs Harbour and Canberra as Australia and England shared the points 8-all, but the hosts retained the Ashes as holders of the trophy.
Should the Women’s Ashes continue its traditional quadrennial home and away schedule, Australia will next host the multi-format series in 2021 and Haynes wants to see the biggest stadiums in the country chock-a-block full of fans.
“It’s been quite overwhelming the amount of support we’ve received from the Australian public,” Haynes said in Canberra today.
“It’s been great to be an athlete and part of this series and experience that.
“We’ve had some wonderful crowds, the support across the whole series and long may it continue.
Haynes added: “The format of this series is great, it’s one that fans really can follow across all three formats of the game.
“From our perspective we think it’s a great time to be involved. There’s real momentum behind our team and certainly the support of our team as well.
“Hopefully it’s packed out stadiums in four years’ time.”
At the conclusion of each match, thousands of fans rushed to the boundary fence near the Australia dugout waiting to meet their heroes, collect autographs and ask for selfies.
It’s a complete contrast to the type of reception Haynes and her peers received when she first represented her country only eight years ago.
“When I started playing we would walk into empty stadiums and maybe your mum and your dad would be in the crowd,” Haynes recalled.
“But now, we even noticed in this series you couldn’t walk up and say hello to your family without being swamped by other people at the ground.
“It’s really been a great experience and it’s only going to grow from here.
“There’s great momentum, not only behind our team but women’s sport at the moment. It’s a really exciting time to be involved.”
As captain, Haynes was the figurehead for team but as all humble leaders do, she praised the efforts of her charges who retained the Ashes with two games to spare.
“One of the real shining lights of the series has been the evenness of the contributions across the playing group,” she said.
“I don’t think we’ve relied on any one player to go out there and do the job.
“There’s been some really outstanding efforts; Megan Schutt was excellent with the ball, Beth Mooney had a great T20 series, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, even Alex Blackwell in the first game.
“You could reel off any number of players who have really contributed. It’s been a great team effort.”
Haynes was a shock choice to replace Meg Lanning as captain in the Women’s World Cup this winter when Lanning succumbed to a long-standing shoulder injury.
Post-World Cup shoulder surgery ruled Lanning out of the Women’s Ashes and Haynes was instilled for the entire campaign and didn’t miss a beat, leading with aggression, composure and astute tactical prowess.
Now she returns to the NSW Lendlease as one of the pack under the captaincy of Blackwell and Perry, but the 30-year-old says she will always cherish her time leading Australia in the Ashes.
“It’s been a huge honour and one that I’ve really enjoyed,” she said.
“It’s definitely had its challenges at different points in time.
“To be able to be part of this team, first and foremost, and then captain and retain the Ashes it’s been really great to be part of.”
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
Australia lead England 4-2
Australia T20 squad: Sarah Aley, Alex Blackwell, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (c), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
England squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.
First ODI Australia won by two wickets
Second ODI Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)
Third ODI England won by 20 runs (DLS method)
Day-Night Test Match drawn
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT