Women's cricket

Sarah Taylor in talks to play men's cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 14, 2013

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Sarah Taylor plays towards the off-side, England v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, Women's World T20, Colombo, October 4, 2012
Sarah Taylor has scored four one-day international hundreds for England © ICC/Getty
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Sarah Taylor, the England wicketkeeper, has revealed she is in discussions to play men's second XI county cricket later this year.

Taylor, who will shortly fly to India for the Women's World Cup, is hoping to play for the Sussex second XI at some point during the 2013 season.

Mark Lane, the England Women's coach, has led the way in trying to secure Taylor a spot in a men's team and the plan is for her to start with Birmingham League side Walmley. A number of the England women's team play regular men's club cricket.

"Mark is looking at me getting some games with the second XI at Sussex and that will be just phenomenal cricket," Taylor told the Guardian. "The plan is also for me to play some early season games for the MCC boys. Mark is trying to get me a lot of men's cricket which can only help my game."

Taylor, 23, would target the longer form of limited-overs cricket where the difference in power would be more easily accommodated. One of the measurable differences between the women's and men's game is that it is played with a slightly smaller cricket ball.

"There's part of me doubting myself," she said. "I've just got to start believing in myself a little bit more. But I would love to do it. It would be such a challenge - facing a bigger ball and bigger bowlers. But I'd have to look at myself after the second XI games and say: 'Can you handle this?'"

Taylor is regarded as one of the finest women cricketers of all time. She averages 39.42 from 71 one-day internationals including four hundreds and has a strike-rate of 112 from her 46 Twenty20s (the fifth-highest among players to have made 15 or more appearances) alongside an average of 32.94

In 2011, Taylor's England team-mate Arran Brindle became the first woman to score a hundred in men's Premier League cricket as she hit 128 for Louth in the Lincolnshire League.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by anton1234 on (January 15, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

The problem is men bowl and bat very differently when they play against a woman. It cannot be explained properly but the psychology is completely different. It will be impossible to know how she will perform because the men just will not play properly when they face a woman.

Posted by igorolman on (January 15, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

I've got nothing against women playing male cricket - as glance_to_leg mentions, men often lose their heads one way or another against women bowlers and play the bowler not the ball. Also, to coin a phrase, if she's good enough, she's man enough.

My big problem comes with what this does to her core skills, since she will be playing with a bigger ball - will exposure to this damage her game in women's cricket? And, vitally for the national team, will she get time off from Sussex 2's to go play for England if Matt Prior is doing the same?

Posted by PanGlupek on (January 15, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

@John Firth, I've played alongside and against high-standard women & umpired in women's leagues & I'd have to disagree with anyone who says women tend not to be as good technically as men. If anything, standard of technique in the higher women's leagues may be better than it is in the men's game (arguably because men are more likely to be able to substitute technique for brute force).

The most notable differenes for me are that even some of the better women occasionally can seem scared of the ball when fielding in men's teams (sorry, but just my experience), and the bowling is not as quick. You also tend not to see many women with bullet arms either. Behaviour towards umpires, spirit of game etc is far better in the women's game.

In Tails' case, these differences shouldn't be an issue given that she's a wicket-keeper, apart from possibly how long it will take her to adapt to the quicker average speeds of the bowlers. Technique will definitely not be an issue for her at that level.

Posted by CaptainPedant on (January 15, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

Good luck to her - if she's good enough to do a 2nd XI job as a keeper and bat then let her do it. But let's not get carried away or say silly things about the physical superiority of the top 0.001% of women to "most men" - that's not the comparison that matters.

Posted by Bobby_Talyarkhan on (January 15, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

Cricket needs to expand to cover places and people not usually admitted to the higher echelons of the game. It is good that cricket is expanding to areas like China and it is good that women are being allowed to play with men. Every human being is different so essentialist nostrums about physical strength should be dispensed with - fast. We need to evolve and that means to stop discriminating against human beings on any ground - gender, race, sexual orientation, whatever. Good luck to Sarah!

Posted by 200ondebut on (January 15, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

If she went out to Oz she could probably get into one of the state sides!

I am pleased this is happening and is happening for the right reasons and not just a publicity stunt. Women should be treated as equals and it is about time all of this single sex sport was scrapped and the best players, regardless of sex, all competed together. .

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