Charlotte Edwards, the England women's captain, has said the return of Sarah Taylor and Claire Taylor to the squad is a huge boost in her team's attempt to defend the World Twenty20 title. Both batsmen were among the top ten run-getters in the competition in 2009. England were beaten by West Indies in a Twenty20 series in November last year, and Edwards acknowledged that home advantage meant the hosts were strong contenders in this year's tournament.
"We have obviously really missed her [Claire Taylor's] experience more than anything and we also missed Sarah Taylor as well," Edwards said in an interview with the ICC. "They are two of our top four batters. If any side loses two of their top batters they would struggle. It would leave a hole and we are really looking forward to getting them back on board."
Edwards said the defeat to West Indies last year, in the context of the World Twenty20, had helped them prepare better than other teams for the competition. "We are really excited having been there in November as we saw what the conditions are going to be like and I think we actually want to be a step ahead of most of the teams," she said. "I think I misread the conditions of the West Indies when we were there in November. They had quite slow wickets and actually at Warner Park the outfield is not that quick, so I guess it is going to be different strategy that we need to put in place now."
West Indies, Edwards said, have improved considerably and she tipped them to be the surprise team of the tournament. "I think it's just going to be Australia, New Zealand and India but having seen the West Indies and how they played in St Kitts in November I think they are going to be real threat to all the teams," she said. "They are on home soil as well and they have shown they can play some fantastic cricket. They are always improving year on year - they could be a surprise team for the tournament."
When asked to name the players she thought were the ones to watch out for, Edwards said: "Deandra Dottin is going to be a key player for the West Indies. I think she is an awesome talent. What I've seen of her with both bat and ball has been really exceptional and l have been really impressed by her. Having been in India recently, I think their young spinner Gouhar Sultana is likely to be a real threat. All the teams are playing really good cricket and the Australians have the likes of Shelley Nitschke in the form of her life."
The women's World Twenty20 gets underway on May 5.