Rachael Haynes 'identified as the future captain' years ago

The decision to appoint Rachael Haynes as captain for the forthcoming Ashes series should be judged on results, and not external perception according to national selector Shawn Flegler.

Cricket Australia announced last month that Haynes would lead the side against England in the absence of injured skipper Meg Lanning, as opposed to vice-captain Alex Blackwell who does the job for NSW at state level, and for the Sydney Thunder in the Women's Big Bash.

It's created a situation where Blackwell leads Haynes at domestic level, but the roles are reversed on the international scene.

Selectors decided months ago that Haynes would captain Australia should Lanning succumb to a shoulder injury, and the 30-year-old took charge twice at the recent women's World Cup when the incumbent was being rested.

Her first order of business as national skipper this summer will be on October 22 at a sold-out Allan Border field in Brisbane when Australia's Ashes defence begins.

"It might have seemed odd and I can appreciate some people thinking that way, but from our point of view I still believe it's the right call," Flegler said.

"If you rewind a few years when Rach was involved in the Australian team, she was identified as the future captain of Australia back then.

"What Rachael showed during the World Cup just being able to go in seamlessly and play and captain and win two games, that showed a little bit about her.

"Alex has done a great role within Australian cricket. It's not saying she wouldn't have done a really good job as captain as well, but the selectors didn't subscribe to the thought that just because you're vice-captain, you automatically become captain.

"We look at the dynamics of the squad and the impact that has on each other, so that comes into the thinking as well.

"Externally maybe it seems an odd decision but it wasn't to us."

CA will announce its Ashes squads on Tuesday in Sydney. They'll pick 13 players for the one-day fixtures, and a 15-strong squad for the day-night Test at North Sydney Oval.

They're not lacking for batting depth despite Lanning's absence, and Haynes looks set for a huge summer following an opening-day unbeaten domestic hundred against Queensland on Friday.

But Flegler is keeping a close eye on the opening weekend of the Women's National Cricket League with several spots still up for grabs in the bowling ranks.

He has flagged changes to the World Cup side that was knocked out by India in the semi-final. Australia played three spin bowlers throughout the tournament but struggled to bowl teams out, and will now look to a quicker attack to unsettle England on Australian soil.

NSW duo Sarah Aley and Belinda Vakarewa are in the box seat to join Megan Schutt in the fast-bowling ranks, given both were in the World Cup squad, but Flegler is casting the net far and wide.

Holly Ferling is in the frame after overcoming an elbow injury, while Piepa Cleary and Tahlia McGrath are also on the selection radar.

"There's certainly a couple of spots up for grabs and this weekend's the big one for a few players," Flegler said.

"There's certainly some options there, the selectors will be leaning towards people who have performed really well this weekend and who can fill a role based on the conditions and the opposition.

"There's been a lot of planning that's gone into the analysis of the English players.

"The one dayers at AB Field and Coffs Harbour are pretty good wickets, I wouldn't say they're spin friendly wickets so that may impact on our selection as well.

"It's been discussed pretty widely, the balance in our team and whether we had the right balance at the World Cup. Hindsight's a great thing. It would've been nice to have another [pace] bowler at some points during those games."

This story Rachael Haynes 'identified as the future captain' years ago first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.