Realities of touring during the pandemic – such as two weeks’ quarantine on return to Australia – have made the stint impractical.
Representatives of Australian players contacted by Standard Sport confirmed that more players are weighing up withdrawals, although Haynes is understood to be alone in confirming her news to the ECB so far.
The loss of top Australian players would undoubtedly be a blow for the Hundred’s women’s competition. Other leading Australians involved include Ellyse Perry (Birmingham Phoenix), Meg Lanning (Welsh Fire) and Alyssa Healy (Northern Superchargers). While it seems unlikely that every Australian will withdraw, a significant exodus is expected.
The ECB are confident that they can bring in replacement overseas players, with India touring England this summer and South Africans available to play.
“We’re disappointed to lose a player of Rachael’s stature and ability, but the realities of COVID mean there remain practicalities that are difficult for some overseas players to overcome,” an ECB spokesperson told Standard Sport.
“A replacement overseas player will be signed by Oval Invincibles, and we look forward to showcasing the women’s game with world class players performing on a big platform through The Hundred this summer.”
Problems with overseas players appear unlikely to be limited to the Women’s Competition in the Hundred.
In the men’s competition, some players are due to come from red-listed countries such as Pakistan and South Africa, others from countries that would require quarantine on their return home. The international schedule is uncertain due to the pandemic too, and insiders predict that most Australian men could join the women in withdrawing.
A difference between the two competitions, however, is remuneration.
While – even with reductions due to the pandemic – players in the men’s competition earn between £100,000 and £20,000 for the month-long tournament and prize money on both sides is the same, the women’s base salaries are worth only £3,600 to £15,000.
In both tournaments, overseas players are unsurprisingly towards the top of the salary scale but, still, pay would appear to make women more likely to decide the baggage that comes with the tournament is not worth it.