Vlaeminck out to repay the faith in return to the top

Aussie pace ace made an immediate impact in her return from a lengthy injury lay-off

Tayla Vlaeminck hopes her long-anticipated return to Australian colours is just the start, as she sets her sights on repaying the faith of selectors and medical staff – and on the T20 World Cup later this year. 

Vlaeminck took a wicket with her third delivery in her first international game since January 2022 in Sunday’s first T20I, beating Sobhana Mostary for speed to bowl the Bangladesh No.3 for a duck.

That prompted an appropriately jubilant response from her teammates, who rushed in and messed up Vlaeminck’s iconic low ponytail – an honour usually reserved for a player taking their first international wicket.

Australia celebrate Tayla Vlaeminck's wicket in her first T20I in two years // Getty

For Vlaeminck, who has played just eight international games since she was ruled out on the eve of the 2020 T20 World Cup thanks to two serious foot injuries and shoulder surgery, it was a moment that reminded her exactly why the long months of rehab were worthwhile.  

"Hopefully in the next little bit I can stick on the park and replay the faith because I definitely wouldn't be here today without all the help," Vlaeminck told reporters after the game as she thanked CA and Victoria medical staff, coaches, selectors plus her teammates, friends and family.  

"I was just pretty excited to be honest to get the ball in hand, when I did that first wicket the girls were all around me and ruffled my hair up a bit, it was a pretty cool feeling.  

"I suppose it made some of the hard work worth it, to be able to get that wicket was really nice."

It was not the perfect return, and Vlaeminck ended with figures of 1-30 from her four overs, including four wides and a no ball. 

But it was a significant step for the 25-year-old, who is one of, if not the fastest, female bowler in Australia and who is making a case for inclusion in the squad for this year’s T20 World Cup, also to be played in Bangladesh.  

There was no speed gun on the YouTube stream of the match so Vlaeminck said she was unsure exactly how fast she bowled on Sunday, but she expects to find more pace the more time she spends on the park. 

"It felt pretty similar to what it felt like back two years ago," Vlaeminck said.  

"It's very different when you're out in the middle compared to when you're in the nets and there's a lot more pressure on the middle.  

"I think the more exposure I get to those conditions and more I get amongst the group more and get out in the middle, I'll start feeling more comfortable and hopefully I can get it a bit quicker. 

"But I thought it felt pretty nice today and I was really enjoying myself."

CommBank Tour of Bangladesh

First ODI: Australia won by 118 runs

Second ODI: Australia won by six wickets

Third ODI: Australia won by eight wickets

First T20I: Australia won by 10 wickets

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