Samantha Claire Taylor
September 25, 1975, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
Right hand Bat
A solid right-hand bat and, at the start of her career, a wicketkeeper too, Claire Taylor read maths at Oxford, where, in addition to playing cricket, she captained the hockey team. She also represented England's hockey team at U-17 and U-19 levels, but it was as a cricketer that she really prospered and though she made a slow start to her international career, but by the time she retired in July 2011 she had firmly established herself as one of England's premier batsmen in all formats.
Working tirelessly with her coach Mark Lane, she transformed her game and made a mockery of a previous highest score of 18 with a defiant 137 in England's second Test defeat to Australia at Headingley in 2001. In 2003, she scored 177 in the first Test against South Africa and followed up with 131 in the second Test.
But her defining knock came at Lord's in 2006, where she made 156 against India, a record one-day score at the venue, eclipsing Viv Richards' 138 not out in the World Cup in 1979. England went on to win the series 4-0. Taylor's talents have been given due recognition: she was shortlisted for ICC Women's Player of the Year Award for three successive years since its introduction in 2006. In February 2008, she got her seventh century to become the joint highest century-maker in women's ODIs. In September that year she completed 100 ODIs - the 13th player to do so - and her prolific form launched her to No. 1 in the ICC women's batting rankings that were released for the first time in October 2008.
She kicked off 2009 in spectacular fashion with one century and two half-centuries in England's successful World Cup campaign and was Player of the Tournament for her 324 runs at 64.80. Further recognition came in April when she was the first woman to be named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year, and she rounded off a successful year by being named in the New Year Honours List, receiving her MBE at Windsor Castle in February 2010.
Taylor made her 168th and final appearance for England at Wormsley in July 2011, signing off, fittingly, with a victory in a quadrangular series final against Australia.
Batting & Fielding