Vlaeminck feels the need for speed in long-awaited return

Aussie speedster reflects on a long journey back to the national side as she prepares to play her first international game in more than two years

Tayla Vlaeminck is confident she has lost none of her pace despite a series of serious injuries that have kept the Victorian on the sidelines in recent years.

The right-arm fast bowler is on the cusp of playing her first international match in more than two years, following her recall for Australia’s white-ball tour of Bangladesh.


So highly rated is Vlaeminck by Australian selectors, she has kept her national contract throughout a torrid run of injuries which have limited her to just 24 international games since her debut in 2018.

Now, the 25-year-old is eager to show what she can do, should she get her chance in any of the upcoming three ODIs and three T20Is in Dhaka.

"I've changed a bit of my foot patterning and stuff ... if you watch the videos from before, I know I did when I was remodelling it, I wondered how it was physically possible that I got the ball on the other end, somewhat on the pitch, sometimes," Vlaeminck told The Scoop podcast.

"It was pretty erratic. So I've just tried to streamline a little bit, get it all a little bit more repeatable.

"Hopefully it's better on my foot, while trying to maintain the speed.

"For me that's the most important thing, I don't want to run out there ... but not be able to go fast.

"So I still do think I can bowl the same pace, it's just going to take a little bit of time to get comfortable in the middle again."

Vlaeminck last played for Australia in January 2022, when she made a brief return to the national side before suffering a second serious stress fracture in her right foot.

Her comeback via Australia A in England last June was then derailed when her shoulder – which she had dislocated earlier in her career – popped out while bowling and required surgery.

But after a successful return via domestic one-day cricket for Victoria, Vlaeminck is keen to repay the faith shown in her by the Australian selectors.

"Throughout the last two, three years, there's been different motivations at different times (but) the overarching one's always been playing for Australia again," Vlaeminck said.

"I think I always believed I could do it ... but for it to actually come true, it took a little bit to actually sink in."

Tayla Vlaeminck celebrates a wicket against England in February 2020 // Getty

The Australian set-up looks a bit different since Vlaeminck’s most recent international appearance.

Shelley Nitschke has been promoted from assistant to head coach, while former leaders Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes have retired, with Alyssa Healy and deputy Tahlia McGrath taking her place.

"I actually sat down with Shell over a toastie in Adelaide at the three-day game and she was just catching me up on what's new around the group," Vlaeminck said.

"It's going to be very different, but I was also pretty lucky throughout that two or three years, that I was still involved in the training camps and preseason camps and that sort of thing.

"So while it feels like I haven't been on tour with the group in a long time, I still feel like I have that little foot in the door and a little connection with everyone still.

"I think it'll still feel like the first day school when I go into the first training session, but I'm just really excited about it."

Vlaeminck is also delighted to have the "band back together", as she, Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham find themselves all in the same Australian squad for the first time since October 2021, following four years of awful injuries for the trio.

The Victorians had a dream start to their careers in 2018, when the then-housemates were part of a winning T20 World Cup campaign in the West Indies.

In recent years, they have spent more time in rehab at Cricket Victoria than on the field together. Wareham ruptured her ACL in late 2021 and spent 15 months on the sidelines, while Molineux was ruled out of the 2022 Ashes and World Cup with a stress fracture before she ruptured her ACL later the same year.

"I don't know if it will happen or not, but being able to all play together would be awesome," Vlaeminck said.

"I played with Soph in a couple of the Vic games but that would have been the first time in years, and I don't think I've played a game with Wolf (Wareham) since we played India in 2021.

"So just to be able to get out of the park with those guys again, it'll be really good fun."

CommBank Tour of Bangladesh

March 21: First ODI, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (2:30pm AEDT)

March 24: Second ODI, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (2:30pm AEDT)

March 27: Third ODI, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (2:30pm AEDT)

March 31: First T20I, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (5:00pm AEDT)

April 2: Second T20I, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (5:00pm AEDT)

April 4: Third T20I, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (5:00pm AEDT)

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath (vc), Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck

Bangladesh squad: Nigar Sultana (c), Nahida Akter (vc), Fargana Hoque, Murshida Khatun, Sobhana Mostary, Shorna Akter, Ritu Moni, Sultana Khatun, Fahima Khatun, Marufa Akter, Disha Biswas, Sumaiya Akter, Nishita Akter Nishi, Farzana Akter, Rabeya Khan