Australia ponder Bolton fill-in against NZ

Rachael Haynes says she is happy to open the batting for Australia.
Rachael Haynes says she is happy to open the batting for Australia.

Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes has put her hand up to fill the gap at the top of the order during the upcoming three-match ODI series against New Zealand.

With Nicole Bolton still on personal leave, Australia need to find a new partner for star opener Alyssa Healy.

Beth Mooney and Haynes are the leading contenders, while Elyse Villani is also an option if she is given the all clear to resume following a recent hamstring injury.

Haynes, who is a regular opener with state side NSW, said she would embrace the role if it is handed to her.

"I've done it in the past," Haynes said ahead of the series opener at the WACA Ground on Friday.

"More recently (for Australia) I've been batting through the middle order. But I feel really comfortable opening the batting.

"I did it throughout the WBBL and also for NSW.

"I feel like I've got the skills to do it if I am called upon. But the beauty of our team is there's lots of different options there."

Australia have held the Rose Bowl trophy since 2000, and the No.1 ranked ODI team are hot favourites to retain it on home soil.

But NZ, who are coming off an ODI series loss to India, have given Australia a fright in the past two Rose Bowl series.

"We'd love to (keep our streak going)," Haynes said.

"It would be nice to finish off the Australian summer with a trophy. But by no means do we want to underestimate NZ either.

"They've got some really dangerous players."

Haynes said it was good to see 20-year-old speedster Lauren Cheatle back in the ODI squad following a string of injuries.

The left-arm quick, who hasn't played an ODI match in almost a year, looms as a major weapon on the traditionally fast and bouncy WACA deck.

"She's had to overcome a lot of adversity along the way, being a young quick bowler and picking up injuries at the start of her career," Haynes said.

"It's been great to see her overcome that challenge."

Australian Associated Press