Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

Hannah Darlington says she will draw on the experience of being captain of her state in two games last summer after being named the youngest captain in WBBL history.

In 19 years and 262 days, Darlington has been handed over to the captain of the Sydney Thunder in the absence of regular skipper Rachael Haynes, who will miss the entire club’s title defense after returning to Sydney for the birth of his first child with partner Leah Poulton.

As no matches are scheduled to be played in NSW and the borders remain closed, Haynes will not be able to rejoin the Thunder as minor restrictions ease earlier than expected.

Darlington became the youngest NSW captain ever last summer when she complemented Alyssa Healy in two Women’s National Cricket League matches.

She will be the youngest skipper in the history of the tournament and surpasses the current Renegades captain Sophie Molineux, who is 23, and national captain Meg Lanning, who was also 23 when she was captain of the Melbourne Stars in WBBL | 01.

Darlington was named captain of the Thunder's shirt presentation // Sydney Thunder
Darlington was named captain of the Thunder’s shirt presentation // Sydney Thunder

“It’s a huge honor,” Darlington said.

“I have been a part of this club for almost five years now and have supported it throughout.

“Having this opportunity to step in for Rach, who has had a massive impact on my leadership style, is quite special, and I am ready to lead a team I am passionate about being a part of.

“It was a great experience to captain Breakers, it was another dream come true and I had Rach and other couple of management team players out there with me (for these matches).

“It was certainly a big learning curve, but it prepared me quite well to tackle the reins (by Thunder).”

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It continues what has been a meteoric rise for the pace-bowling all-rounder; she was named WBBL | 05 Young Gun in his first season, and participated in the tournament team of the WBBL | 06.

She was called into the national team for the first time for the March tour in New Zealand and debuted against ODI and T20I against India in the recently completed multi-format series and became the third native woman to represent Australia.

Coach Trevor Griffin said Darlington was the “natural choice” to replace Haynes.

“Hannah is someone who is passionate about the Thunder Nation and she has shown leadership qualities over the last two seasons and was just a natural choice,” he said.

“She is someone that the team has great respect for and she goes out on the field with genuine passion in her heart and lives and breathes our culture.”

A smoking ceremony was held on the banks of the river Derwent // Leveres
A smoking ceremony was held on the banks of the river Derwent // Sydney Thunder

Darlington was named captain at the Thunder’s shirt presentation ceremony on Thursday, where players and staff connected the country with traditional owners who performed a smoking ceremony for the players and staff on the banks of the Derwent River.

Darlington is one of two native players on the Thunder list along with close friend Anikya Learoyd, and the pair shared their stories with the rest of the group, including new teammates Corinne Hall, Jessica Davidson, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Issy Wong .

It’s a commitment we made last year to have this shirt presentation (every season) and we would have liked to have done it here in Sydney, but we are here in Hobart in a beautiful country and with people who came and were willing to put this ceremony on for us, “Darlington said.

“It was a special day not only for me and Annika, but for the whole group.”

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