Haynes seeks fortune change after minor cat-astrophe
After a run of low scores followed by a freak injury, Sydney Thunder captain Rachael Haynes is ready to put the first half of WBBL|05 behind her
14 November 2019, 04:28 PM AEST
Last week, Rachael Haynes’ Rebel WBBL season with the bat was going so poorly, she thought she must have crossed paths with the proverbial black cat.
Then she, quite literally, had a run in with a cat.
An accidental bite sustained while trying to break up an alleged "turf war" between her pet cat Lily – who, for the record, is grey – and a rival neighbour saw Haynes ruled out of last Sunday’s match against the Perth Scorchers.
The seemingly innocuous bite became infected, with Haynes’ foot swelling severely.
"When it happened, I actually couldn’t believe what was going on," Haynes told cricket.com.au.
"I woke up the next morning and I was like, ‘okay, I just need to hit the pause button here because this is getting ridiculous’.
"She did force me to hit the pause button, because I couldn’t walk."
Star of @theblast_fox show 4? @RachaelHaynes cat Lily who has sidelined the skipper for a round in a cat standoff that went horribly wrong. Plus the insights of @JJonassen21 & Erin Burns on all things @WBBL. #WBBL05 pic.twitter.com/DwWajpUiMI— Mel 'MJ' Jones (@meljones_33) November 10, 2019
It also led to a couple of the more comical phone calls she’s had to make.
"It was weird having to call my coach and the physio to let them know what happened, but it’s one of those stories you just couldn’t make up," Haynes said.
The Thunder No.3 returned for Tuesday’s match, also against the Scorchers but this time at the WACA, but her fortunes with the bat did not improve as she was caught behind for a golden duck.
After six innings this season, Haynes has 63 runs at 10.5, with a top score of 36.
It’s a frustrating run for the Australian vice-captain, who came into WBBL|05 off the back of her maiden international century, against Sri Lanka in October.
"It’s been pretty underwhelming, to be honest,” Haynes said of her recent form.
"But you go through periods like this.
"I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well in the nets, but every opportunity there’s been in a match to get out, I’ve gotten out.
"You haven’t got time to be too down about it, you’ve just got to keep moving on.
"I’m working hard on my game and I know it’s going to turn, so I’ve just got to stay nice and patient and be really clear on what I’m trying to do out in the middle."
The Australian players are in the middle of their busiest ever year, but Haynes doesn’t believe the packed schedule has impacted her form, saying she learnt from the quick turnaround between last year’s T20 World Cup and WBBL|04.
"I’ve actually felt pretty fresh, I learnt good lessons from last year when we had that busy period before the WBBL season," she said.
"We’ve got a lot of cricket left to play in the year, so there’s no reason to panic, there’s going to be lots more opportunities to walk out there and score runs."
In good news for Haynes, and her Thunder teammates, that foot injury is now behind her – and relations with Lily have also been repaired.
"She said she’s forgiven me, for getting in her way," Haynes laughed.
Jokes aside, Haynes is ready to draw a line under the first half of WBBL|05, with six games remaining in the regular season for her to turn things around – and hopefully position the fifth-ranked Thunder for a tilt at the finals.
"I’m trying to stay nice and positive and I know especially in this format things can turn around pretty quickly," she said.
"I’ve still got time to contribute throughout the rest of the season and I definitely need to stand up in the back end here."
This weekend, it’s the Thunder’s turn to host the WBBL Festival Weekend action, with four games to be played across three days at Drummoyne Oval.
Coming off consecutive losses, the Thunder could not face a sterner test than showdowns with the Sydney Sixers (Friday at 7.10pm) and the Brisbane Heat (Saturday at 7.10pm).
But they have been boosted by the return of talented teenager Phoebe Litchfield, with the 16-year-old available after missing both matches against the Scorchers due to her Year 10 exams.
"We’re coming up against the two finalists from last year and they’re having pretty exceptional seasons themselves," Haynes said.
"They’re going to be tough games, but we’ve shown throughout the season during the tough moments we’re able to stick together and find a way.
"From our point of view, we’ve got to keep winning games to make sure we’re there at the business end."