March 6, 2021

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Tayla Vlaeminck ‘feared the worst’ with knee injury – Matthew Mott

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Australia fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck feared the worst when she suffered a knee injury last month but is making good progress in her recovery ahead of the T20I tri-series with India and England and T20 World Cup.

Vlaeminck, 21, picked up an ACL strain to her left knee during training before Christmas and has sat out the resumption of the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) but is now back running.

She has a history of bad knee injuries having been through two reconstructions and missed half of last season’s WBBL after suffering a previous ACL strain.

“Tayla has been really good, happy with her progress,” Australia coach Matthew Mott told ESPNcricinfo. “It was a big scare at the start, she feared the worst because of her past history. But she did a strain about a year ago that felt similar so the recovery has been pretty good.”

Vlaeminck is one of the quickest bowlers in the world and has added a strong point-of-difference to the Australia attack since making her debut in October 2018. She only has four wickets from her six T20Is but her economy rate is under six an over and she has often earned wickets for team-mates by unsettling opposition with her pace.

The other major injury-watch around the Australia camp has been Ellyse Perry following the shoulder damage that curtailed her WBBL season after she landed awkwardly when attempting to take a catch against the Melbourne Renegades on November 17.

Tayla Vlaeminck troubled Sri Lanka with her pace © Getty Images

Mott was commentating for radio at the time one of his star players went down and admitted to some unease when Perry continued to field during the match. She was keen to return towards the end of the WBBL with the Sydney Sixers trying to qualify for the finals, but a cautious approach was taken and she made her comeback in the WNCL for her new state, Victoria, on Tuesday scoring 24 and taking 1 for 20 from seven overs.

“No matter who the player is you worry about the worst-case scenario,” Mott said. “I know she’s always tough, the fact she stayed out on the field was good and bad. It meant it wasn’t too serious. I’ve spoken to her and would have preferred she come straight off and get some treatment. As captain she wanted to influence the Sixers, but the right decision was made [not to rush back].”

Australia will name their T20 World Cup squad in the middle of the month and while there won’t be much change from those who have thrashed Sri Lanka and West Indies in the last six matches, Mott and the selection panel will look closely at those who performed well in the WBBL as well as the India A series. Offspinner Molly Strano, who was the leading WBBL wicket-taker, and the Hobart Hurricanes seamer Belinda Vakarewa are two pushing for call-ups.

“As a selection group we were very happy with what was thrown up and the competition for spots,” he said. “Someone like Belinda Vakarewa who has been on our radar for a long time, for her to get the opportunity to open the bowling and close out innings, you can’t put a price on that.

“Molly Strano who has been in the team and done well and has probably been unluckily squeezed out by some allrounders. Even younger players like Annabel Sutherland doing well in the A series, Erin Burns who probably didn’t really nail it in the WBBL but had a great A series. There are players on the fringes who have given us a tough game for this final 15.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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