Claire Taylor honoured with MBE
England cricketer Claire Taylor received her MBE at Windsor Castle today. Taylor was part of the England side that won both the Women's World Cup and the Women's World Twenty20 last year, cracking an unbeaten half-century to guide England to victory over Australia in the semi-final of the Twenty20 tournament. She was Player of the Tournament at both events and was named Women's Player of the Year at the ICC Awards in Johannesburg.
A veteran of England's Women's side, she has played 114 one-day internationals and 15 Tests since making her debut in an ODI against Australia at Southampton in 1998. She has also been a valued member of Berkshire and club Reading Ridgeway for over 14 years, and is currently ranked second in the world in the ICC ODI batting rankings.
"It was such a huge honour today," Taylor said after receiving her MBE. To be presented with this by the Queen at Windsor Castle, it's brilliant. I'm so honoured."
"It's best not to think about these things actually," she added. "You concentrate on the things you're good at, that you enjoy. In my case, that's playing cricket and it's putting on an England shirt and playing for your country. If you're lucky - and I have been to do all that - it's fantastic.
"I wouldn't be here if the team hadn't played some really great cricket. Hopefully, what they've done inspires a few others to take up the path of cricket. It's a great sport and you can get great rewards from it."
When asked to identify her personal highlights from a long international career, Taylor explained: "Chases as a batsman test me mentally and technically so they mean more to me. We've had some great performances over the last twelve months and I'd probably pick chasing 160-odd to beat Australia to get into the World Twenty20 Final."
Clare Connor, ECB's Head of England Women's Cricket, paid tribute to Taylor after she received her prestigious award. "Claire Taylor's contribution to women's cricket is immense," she said. "Claire has amassed over 5,000 runs in all formats of international cricket.
"In February 2008, she notched up her seventh century to become the joint highest century-maker in women's ODIs. In 2009 she made history when she was named as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year - the first female to receive the accolade.
"In 2009 she was instrumental in England lifting two ICC trophies, the World Cup and the World Twenty20; in both tournaments Claire was named Player of the Tournament for her consistent contributions with the bat," she added.
"Claire's influence stretches far beyond the England team. She helps raise standards of girls' cricket in her area through working on a Gifted and Talented Programme and she is heavily involved in Sport Relief this year. In short, she is a tremendous ambassador for our sport and she thoroughly deserves to be recognised with the honour of an MBE."