Women's cricket January 14, 2013

Sarah Taylor in talks to play men's cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

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  • anton 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.

  • Matt 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?

  • Pan 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.

  • Doug 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.

  • Bis 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!

  • Robert 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. .

  • Dilan on January 15, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    I think this is fabulous! She will be tested facing pacy bowler that reach 135kph but she has the timing necessary. I don't see why "Power" is a big deal, players that thrive on timing and technique like Mahela Jayawardena and Hashim Amla outshine powerhouses like Pollard any day. Kudos to you Sarah in proving one can be lady-like in the "Gentlemen's Game"!

  • Carl on January 15, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster contgratulations on the most politically correct comment on this whole thread! Not accurate but politically correct (and surely equal means as good as not the best)!!!

    Men and women are different, we cannot be totally equal. Women are better than men at certain things, men are better than woman at others. Facts are that men (at the top level, not every man!) are better than woman at physical activities.

  • Carl on January 15, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Just heard an interview and it appears that they are proposing a sensible strategy. Comments about havine to get used to different balls, bowling speeds, the lengths bowled, etc and also training with the men to see how it goes with nothing cast in stone.

    Hopefully she will only get in if she performs better than the men (not just as good or a little bit worse, equal opportunities and all that!).

    Talk of women getting in men's internation teams is getting boring, it will not happen with any of the big countries. Yes some play men's club cricket but there is a very big step between the two.

    The physical difference between the sexes at the peak of the game will dictate that a woman could not compete at that level. If they can't really do it in a non-dynamic sport like golf how could they do it in a dynamic one like cricket. If it does happen (and on an equal basis) I'll happily eat my own words!

  • Jay on January 15, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Well time for the girls to SHOW how they are the best humans. I am throwing my support behind her big time. Why not ? I think men and women are EQUAL in all respects. Come on Sarah !!!