West Indies v Australia ODIs - Women's
Fresh faces have Aussies excited for West Indies
The Australia camp are thrilled to be back on the road ahead of their two white ball series against the West Indies
Laura Jolly in Antigua
31 August 2019, 03:09 PM AEST
Two-hundred-and-seventy-nine days since they lifted their fourth T20 World Cup trophy, Australia’s women have made a welcome return to the scene of that triumph, Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
The quiet, sunny Friday afternoon which saw the freshly arrived Australians hit the turf for their first practice session of the Commonwealth Bank Tour of the West Indies was a far cry from the scenes at the same venue on the night of November 24 last year when the world champions trounced England in front of a sell-out local crowd.
But the memories of that night were front of mind for the 12 World Cup-winning members of Australia’s current 14-strong squad, as they looked to blow out the cobwebs after touching down in the Caribbean on Thursday.
"It’s really nice to be back, it’s almost hard to believe it’s almost been 12 months since we were last here," Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes said on Friday.
"To have our first training session back on the ground where we won the world cup, it’s nice and familiar and holds few good memories for us."
And for newcomers Erin Burns and Heather Graham, Friday’s session was a highly anticipated chance to put on their fresh Australian training kits for the first time and begin making their cases for international debuts.
"It’s always nice when you have new people in providing different energies," Haynes said.
"They’re both allrounders so (I think they’ll bring) some versatility both with bat and ball.
"It’s going to be interesting to see how everyone fits, it’s going to be pretty competitive as always for spots in the team."
Australia’s first of three one-day internationals against the West Indies is not until September 5, giving the squad plenty of time to become accustomed to the local conditions.
They’ll have an intra-squad match on Sunday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium – the venue hosting the second and third ODIs – while they will also have a chance for a hit-out at Coolidge Cricket Ground, the boutique venue located next to the island’s international airport set to host the first encounter.
For Australia, the extended lead-up is ideal, given the majority of the touring party is coming off a four-week break following the conclusion of the women’s Ashes in the United Kingdom on July 31.
It also gives the squad plenty of time to adjust after a marathon journey to the region, which saw the players catch at least three flights – and some as many as five – between their homes in Australia and Antigua.
But the carrot of playing in the Caribbean has already made the journey worthwhile in Haynes eyes. While the T20 World Cup was played in the region last November, this will be only the second bilateral series played between the Australian and West Indian women in the region – the first a two-Test series in 1976.
"It’s such a relaxed place to tour, the people here are really lovely and we really enjoy the opportunities we have to come to places like this," Haynes said.
Friday’s session was a low-key affair followed by an obligatory recovery session at the beach, but preparations will ramp up on Saturday with a second session at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium before a small group of players fly to nearby Barbuda to undertake a cricket clinic with local children.
CommBank Tour of the West Indies
One-Day Internationals* *ICC Women's Championship matches
September 5: First ODI, Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua
September 8: Second ODI, Sir Viv Richards Ground, Antigua
September 11: Third ODI, Sir Viv Richards Ground, Antigua
September 14: First T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados
September 16: Second T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados
September 18: Third T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados