Haynes explains retirement call despite World Cup lure

Five-time World Cup winner Rachael Haynes expects new leaders to emerge in the national team while she now looks forward to more family time

Rachael Haynes admits she was tempted by the prospect of one more T20 World Cup campaign, but ultimately knew the time was right to step away.

Australia’s vice-captain announced her retirement from international and state cricket on Thursday, ending a 167-game career in the green and gold.

She shared the news with her national teammates at a dinner in Sydney on Monday, and revealed she had also spoken with former coach Matthew Mott and captain Meg Lanning – who is taking an indefinite break from cricket – prior to her decision becoming public.

Australia will be playing for a third consecutive T20 World Cup title in South Africa in February, but Haynes said after taking some time to reflect following the Commonwealth Games, her next move became clear.

"Looking ahead and knowing there's a lot of cricket coming up, the thing that stood out to me was I wasn't that excited about getting ready for it," Haynes told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

"That's probably the first time in my career I felt like that, and I just recognised that maybe that was a sign that perhaps it was time to step away.

"I did think long and hard about it. Realistically, I think I could have got there but I just know in my heart of hearts where I'm at, at the moment, and I know how hard people work for the opportunity in that national side, and I certainly didn't want to stand in anyone's way for my own selfish reasons.

"There'll be some fresh energy coming into that group … there's been some players who have been very unlucky to miss national selection over the last couple of years and they'll be chomping at the bit."

Leader, legend: Haynes calls time on international career

Australia will need at least a new deputy captain for the T20 World Cup, and for the limited-overs series against India and Pakistan that precede it.

If Lanning does not return before then – or returns without a leadership role – they will also need a new skipper.

Haynes was reluctant to put her support behind any particular teammates for the roles, but was confident Australia had the leadership nous within the squad to fill the gaps.

"I don't want to throw names out there … but one thing I will say is that I know behind the scenes, they've been preparing for this moment for a little while now," she said.

"I think they've got plenty of options that they can draw on, it probably just comes down to whether they're thinking short or long term.

"But there's some fantastic leaders within that group who don't necessarily have the titles at the moment (and) I'm looking forward to seeing who that might be."

Haynes spent four years outside the Australia team after being dropped in 2013 – a period during which she seriously considered giving up the game all together – and her journey after being recalled in early 2017 was nothing short of remarkable.

Her chance came during an ODI tour of New Zealand when Alex Blackwell and Ellyse Perry were injured, and just months later, she was leading her country as Lanning managed a serious shoulder injury during the 2017 World Cup.

After captaining Australia through the Ashes later that year, she cemented herself as an indisposable member of the national side, not only with the bat, but also in the field and perhaps most crucially, as a leader.

"I honestly thought that perhaps I was going to walk away from the game at that point in time, but I had a lot of people get behind me and support me through that period, and give me another chance," Haynes said.

"It's changed my life and I'm very grateful ... somewhere along the way, I found my love for the game again and thought I would give it one last crack.

"It was just one of those sliding door moments where there were a couple of injuries at the time in the team and I was just in the right place at the right time.

"Probably the thing I'm proud of is that I stayed ready for that moment, too, so I was able to step into (the Australian team) when the chance did come."

The best catches from Rachael Haynes' international career

Reflecting on a career that included two ODI and three T20 world titles, as well as a Commonwealth Games gold medal, Haynes pin-pointed her tournament-saving innings of 60 against Sri Lanka during the 2020 T20 World Cup as the innings she was most proud of.

Australia had crumbled to 3-10 at the WACA and were staring down the barrel of an early exit from the home tournament where they were heavy favourites, before Haynes and Lanning rescued their team with a 95-run stand.

Haynes, who said she was looking forward to spending more time with partner Leah and her 11-month-old son Hugo, will play one final Weber WBBL season with Sydney Thunder, and will take her time in deciding what comes next.

"Having a baby puts things in perspective, young Hugo is here today and I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with him ... I'm ready for something new and some different challenges," she said.

"I'll take the opportunity to have a little bit of a break. I've been preparing for this moment for a long time, I finished my MBA last year so I feel like I'm ready for that next chapter.

"What that looks like or what it might be, I'm not too sure, but I'm sure I'll stay involved in cricket in some capacity."

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