Quick seeks silver lining in injury ward
Tayla Vlaeminck used her most recent setback to ensure she's stronger and fitter than ever as she eyes a maiden Ashes campaign
16 May 2019, 04:02 PM AEST
Rising Australia quick Tayla Vlaeminck hopes she’s found a silver lining to yet another frustrating injury setback as she eyes a maiden Ashes campaign in the United Kingdom.
The 20-year-old fast bowler’s summer was cut short in January when she suffered a knee injury at training, the partial tear to her ACL ruling her out of the remainder of the Melbourne Renegades’ Rebel WBBL season.
Initially, Vlaeminck was eyeing a return for the three-match ODI series against New Zealand that began in late February, a time-frame that was tight but feasible.
But after speaking to her coaches and doctors, and taking into account her torrid injury history that’s already seen her undergo two knee reconstructions and recover from a dislocated shoulder in the space of four years, Vlaeminck decided to take the long road back – and hopefully ensure a future that involves more time in the middle and less on the sidelines.
“When it happened I was thinking about what I wanted to do; do I take the six weeks and come back? I was all for that idea but then when I actually sat down and spoke to a few people (I realised) this is probably the perfect opportunity to set myself up,” Vlaeminck told cricket.com.au.
“It was getting to the point where I’d been injured, then I’d have four-to-six weeks off, then I’d get injured again and it was just like a cycle.
“So hopefully the two, three months I’ve spent working pretty hard and trying to get a lot stronger will hopefully break that cycle and maybe I’ll have a bit of a stint where I can just play cricket.”
To address her history of serious knee injuries, Vlaeminck revealed she’s made some slight tweaks to her run-up as well as focusing on strengthening the joints.
“There were a few things I technically tried to change, just to limit a little bit of the twist and rotation I was putting to my knees when I hit the crease,” she said.
“I also saw it as a good opportunity to build some strength and realised that my body was trying to do stuff that it couldn't do.
“We just backtracked from this first Brisbane (training) camp (that started this week) and the idea was for me to be ready to rock and roll for the start of that.
“A lot of (the strength work) was based around my knees, but we also chucked in a bit of everything so hopefully I'm a lot stronger coming into this season.
“The idea was it was almost like a mini pre-pre-season so we could get that done before we actually got into pre-season and hopefully set me out for an injury-free year.”
The right-armer has now resumed bowling and has headed to Brisbane with the National Performance Squad for a three-week camp at the Bupa National Cricket Centre.
There, she’ll be training alongside senior Australian players and hoping to press her claims for a spot in the Ashes touring party, which is expected to be revealed next month.
Since returning from leave, Vlaeminck has been training alongside fellow Melbourne-based Australian players at Junction Oval, where her dedication to her recovery has impressed star allrounder (and new Victoria recruit) Ellyse Perry.
“I’ve had a chance to see just how she's worked with her rehab over the last couple of months and she's incredibly positive about everything and it’s quite infectious in a lot of ways,” Perry told cricket.com.au.
“I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for her. If she comes back in, hopefully it goes really well because she's certainly worked hard at it.”
A member of the Australian squad which won the T20 World Cup last November, Vlaeminck was replaced by left-arm speedster Lauren Cheatle for the ODI series against New Zealand.
The pair are seemingly the frontrunners to join pace bowlers Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Nicola Carey and Delissa Kimmince as an extra quick in Australia’s Ashes squad, but will face competition from fellow NPS members Belinda Vakarewa, Maitlan Brown and Tahlia McGrath.
“As a kid when you're growing up and watching cricket, men’s cricket and women's cricket, the Ashes is the pinnacle,” Vlaeminck said.
“You have the World Cup and you have the Ashes.
“To go to the Ashes, to play a Test match, that's probably the pinnacle of women's cricket at the moment so I'm super excited to (try and put my hand up) and we’ll see what happens.”
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
First ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 2
Second ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 4
Third ODI St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, July 7
First T20 County Ground, Chelmsford, July 26
Second T20 The County Ground, Hove, July 28
Third T20 Bristol County Ground, Bristol, July 31
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins