England star Sarah Taylor will make her cricket comeback in the inaugural edition of The Hundred – and one of the key attractions for her return is the chance to play alongside Meg Lanning, the Australian captain she so admires.
The former national team wicketkeeper-batter has signed up for Welsh Fire in the innovative new 100-ball-a-side competition which English cricket is so excited about.
The 31-year-old Taylor put her cricketing career on hold in September 2019 when announcing her international retirement because of anxiety and she has since taken up coaching positions at a local Eastbourne school and more recently at Sussex.
While Taylor, who was in 2018 hailed by no less a judge than Adam Gilchrist as the best wicketkeeper in the world across the men’s and women’s game, has found balance and fulfilment in the dual roles, she grew nostalgic and realised she missed playing.
“A draw for me was also playing with Meg Lanning – that’s always something that I’ve wanted to do for quite a few years. I’m fed up of fetching her balls!” said Taylor.
“Take into account her leadership skills – which I can’t wait to learn from in terms of my coaching – and the fact she’s phenomenal as a batter, she would be your ideal player in any team.”
Lanning, fresh from leading her Australia side to a world record 22nd straight ODI win, is the biggest signing of all for the tournament
But more than 6,500 international runs, as well as her silken wicketkeeping prowess, also ensures Taylor brings real star power to the event.
After quite literally blowing the dust off her cricket bag, Taylor batted for the first time in months earlier this year, setting the wheels in motion for her return to action in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new event.
“The coaching is the future for me but a little bit of testing the waters – am I good enough, have I still got what it takes? I don’t really feel like I’ve got much to lose by playing, I just get to enjoy myself,” she said.
“I could have the worst tournament in the world but I know that I will probably love every minute. Having my full-time job now, it’s my grounder, my feet are firmly on the ground. I can now enjoy my cricket.”
Taylor, who helped England win three Ashes series and the 2009 and 2017 World Cups, is uncertain about whether she will represent anyone else this year but admitted she would be “stupid” not to have a few games before The Hundred.