Claire Taylor, the first woman to be named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year, has retired from international cricket. Taylor has accomplished all there is to accomplish in the game, winning two World Cups and the Ashes. Her peak came in 2009, when England lifted the World Cup and she was named player of the tournament for her 324 runs at 64.80. She was awarded an MBE the same year and honoured by Wisden as one of their five cricketers of the year.
In all, the 35-year-old Berkshire batsman represented England in 15 Tests, 126 ODIs and 27 T20s, making 1030 Test runs at an average of 41.20, 4101 ODI runs at 40.20, and 615 runs in Twenty20s. She also holds the record for the highest one-day international score at Lord's by a man or woman - 156 not out against India in 2006.
Taylor said it was the right time for her to call time on her international career, making the announcement after England beat Australia to win the Natwest Quadrangular Series. "Fitting in all the training amid an ever busier working life is becoming unsustainable, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the week," Taylor said in an ECB statement. "Physically I seem to need to spend more and more time in the gym recovering from injuries rather than training to get fitter. I'm getting old I guess.
"There are so many people to thank who have helped me achieve my dreams. I remember sitting down after the 2000 Women's World Cup in New Zealand and talking about my ambition of becoming one of the best batters in the world. It has been a long process with plenty of ups and downs, culminating in outstanding personal and team success with England in 2009.
"The most important professional relationship of my career has been with Mark Lane, my coach of 14 years. Together we transformed my game so that I became the type of cricketer I always wanted to be."
Taylor also thanked the English Institute of Sport and the ECB for their support and help, and said the current England squad is full of promise. "The squad I'm leaving has huge potential and I wish them well for the future. There are some exciting players pressing for places from the England Women's Academy, which points towards a bright future for England women's cricket."
The ECB head of England women's cricket, Clare Connor paid tribute to Taylor. "Her incomparable hunger to always improve, hard work, focus and mental toughness have combined to make her the best batter in the women's game," Connor said. "Claire has earned the respect of all who have played with her, against her, or who have had the pleasure of watching her.
"Her tour de force was her 76 not out from 53 balls against Australia at the Oval to secure England a place in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009. The power, precision and clinical nature of that innings delivered a message on the biggest stage as to the enormous progress made in the women's game: new fans and support were won, and perceptions were changed. As such, Claire should be hugely proud of the part she has played in the journey of the women's game, and specifically England women's cricket, during the last 14 years."
Taylor is the third international player to retire from the women's game in the last couple of days, following Australia allrounder Shelley Nitschke,and New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins.