She was just a teenager when she became part of the England team, and had won everything the game had to offer before turning 20. Now the most naturally gifted strokemaker in the women’s game tells Ed Kemp why she’s ready to do it all over again.
Since making her international debut back in 2006 as a bubbly 17-year-old and becoming England’s shoo-in wicketkeeper-batsman shortly afterwards, Sarah Taylor says she’s changed “completely”.
But though she’s won all there is to win, and is regarded by many as potentially the finest female batsman the world has seen, she’s still not far off the infectiously lively, funny character who first started. She now occupies the pivotal No.3 spot in all forms and is one of the best English players – male or female – there is to watch. Still only 23 years old, here Sarah explains there’s plenty more to come.
It’s been quite a career already Sarah – you’re still only 23, but you’d won the Ashes, the World Cup and the World Twenty20 at the age of 19.
Yeah that’s not too bad is it!? I hadn’t really thought about it until you just brought it up there, I’ll think about it now!
What’s changed in that time?
I wouldn’t say my cricket has changed too much, I think I’ve still got that flair – but I am probably more consistent now. As a person I’ve definitely changed, I was young and naïve.
How do you split your time as a female cricketer?
I’m part of the MCC Young Cricketers programme, so we train every day at Lord’s in the summer. If we’re not training, we’re in the gym, and if we’re not in the gym, we’ll go for a run or something. So I literally spend all my time on cricket, cricket, cricket. There’s quite a few of us from the England squad now: the youngsters like Danni Wyatt, Georgia Elwiss, Susie Rowe, Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont.
What do you do in any ‘spare’ time?
I’m teaching myself the drums! I was just sat in my room and I thought, ‘Right, it’s about time I did something other than cricket’. As a keeper, I think it’s pretty good for me… I might be air drumming behind the stumps now though, especially if a song comes on during the game!
Are there any technical things that have moved on in the women’s game? The sweeps are huge, for example…
Yeah that’s new to me. I’m more of a traditional ‘in the V’ type player, but the sweep has come into my game, the paddles… I’m still trying to learn the old reverse sweep, it’s still in workshop stage I guess. Obviously with the World Cups in Sri Lanka and India, it’s a big part of the game that we need to work on – and a lot of the girls are doing it really well.
It’s such a massive year with the two World Cups and the Ashes, coming round together again like in 2009. How are you feeling about it?
With regards to the previous World Cups – that’s gone, we’ve ‘parked’ that. We’ll just take the tournaments as they come. People do say, ‘Well, you’ve won them now, what’s left to do?’ And we’re like, ‘Win it again!’ That’s what we’ve got to do. It sounds quite simple really doesn’t it? We’re quite a down to earth side, just taking each game and each tournament as it comes.
How has the international game changed in the time you’ve been playing?
Oh, it’s completely different! I don’t understand how a game and a squad can change so quickly within six years – God, six years! I’m so old! And we’re still getting better. That’s credit I suppose to the management. 2009 was obviously a brilliant year for us, but a lot of us will admit that that wasn’t our best cricket. So if we can do the same, pull it out of the bag again, with better cricket… that would be amazing.
Ed Kemp for Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Read the full feature in the Women’s Cricket Special found in this month’s All Out Cricket magazine. Published on 6th September and available from WHSmiths and a wide range of newsagents. www.alloutcricket.com