January 15, 2013

Women's cricket

Taylor can make the jump

The news that Sarah Taylor could be playing men's second XI cricket next year has sparked plenty of interest and reaction. Someone who has followed her career close, Mike Selvey of the Guardian, is of no doubt that she can make the step up.

As a batsman, Taylor is a rarity in women's cricket in that she has a well-developed offside game: her cover driving last summer was as exquisite as any that came from the bat of Hashim Amla or Ian Bell. When she needs to hit over the top it is significant that she can go over mid-off rather than the default leg-side that women tend to favour as the only means of gaining power in the stroke. But she will have to learn to cope in different ways.

The story came from a full interview by Donald McRae, in the Guardian, ahead of the World Cup.

Taylor offers enjoyable company whether talking about herself as "a whisky girl" who enjoys celebrating or when displaying her more reflective side. "Previous to my break I was really bubbly - but I was probably too upbeat and it rubbed some people up the wrong way. I've calmed down. I don't want to be that bubbly person all the time because if I'm having a bad day I'll just say it. But I've got my best mate in the team - Georgia Elwiss - and we're rooming together during the World Cup."

However, in the Daily Telegraph, a professional gambler, writing under that heading, casts doubt on Taylor's chances.

Cricket is 80 per cent a game of technique, speedy reactions and sharp coordination - so in a lot of ways there's no reason why women can't compete with men. I cannot deny Taylor's debut for a men's team would be great viewing from a curiosity point of view. It would be fascinating to see her batting against spin bowlers. Plus, as she's a wicket-keeper, which is a very technical and athletic position, there is no reason why a world-class women's cricketer couldn't well be up to standard in county 2nd XI. However, I still think it will be a huge challenge for her because the remaining 20 per cent of the game relies on power.

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