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West Indies women in England: 'Women's cricket needs this' - Stafanie Taylor

Captain hails "great feeling" ahead of imminent return of top-level women's cricket

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Stafanie Taylor will captain West Indies women in England  •  Getty Images

Stafanie Taylor will captain West Indies women in England  •  Getty Images

West Indies women have arrived in the UK ahead of their five-match T20I series against England at the end of this month, with captain Stafanie Taylor hailing the imminent return of top-level women's cricket as a "great feeling".
The 18-member West Indies squad left Antigua on a charter flight on Sunday night and reached Derby, where they will be based throughout their tour, on Monday. Derbyshire's home venue, the Incora County Ground, has been turned into a bio-secure environment - having earlier housed England women's training camp and the Australia men on their arrival to the UK this summer - and players from both sides will stay in the on-site hotel at the ground throughout.
The West Indies squad is without Anisa Mohammed, the veteran offspinner who declined the invitation to tour, with uncapped Guyanese left-arm spinner Kaysia Schultz included.
Before the squad's departure, Taylor said that the tour was vital for women's cricket, not least following the T20 World Cup final in March, which saw over 86,000 people at the MCG to watch Australia thrash India. While Germany and Austria have played five T20Is, this tour will see the first women's international cricket between full members since that final, with New Zealand's tour of Australia following soon after.
"It's a great feeling," Taylor said. "I was pleased to hear there was a possibility that we might have a tour, so to see it actually happen is good.
"We definitely need this - women's cricket needs this. To see what happened in that recently-concluded World Cup, when there were 80,000 people at the ground [for the final] and a lot of people watching… it's good to see that we're back up and running."
While England's players returned to individual training in June and have already played a handful of intra-squad warm-up games and appeared for their domestic sides in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, West Indies are coming in cold.
They were well beaten on their last tour of England, losing 3-0 in the ODI series and 1-0 in the T20Is, and with their comparative lack of preparation, it would be a major upset if they were to come away with a series win.
Taylor admitted she expected to feel "a bit rusty" in first few days of training, not least after an enforced break through injury after hurting her groin in the T20 World Cup fixture against England. But she hopes to use her extensive experience of English conditions - including Kia Super League stints at Southern Vipers and Western Storm - to her advantage.
"The ball swings everywhere you go [in England], so it's about applying yourself. I like playing in England - it's a challenge, but sometimes it's good to have these challenges," she said. "We're just coming back as well, [so] it's going to take a while, but at least the few weeks that we have will definitely help us going into our first game."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98