The England legend hasn’t played competitively in nearly two years
Taylor, 32, has not played professionally since retiring at the end of the 2019 season due to her longstanding struggle with anxiety issues. But, having returned to the sport as a text-keeping consultant at Sussex this season, she was set to resume her football career with Welch Fire in the promising season of the 100.
However, she has now responded to a call from her former England teammate, Northern Diamonds coach Danny Hazel, after losing both of the team’s assigned wicket guards. Pace Heath has been injured and Lauren Winfield Hill is out of service in England, so Taylor will go straight to the side against the South East Stars this weekend.
“Danny called me and told me that Lauren was leaving with England and that Pace was injured so they were after the goalkeeper,” Taylor said. “It’s nice for me to play in a good competition in preparation for the 100th mission. It’s kind of a win-win for everyone really, but it was really nice to think of Danny.”
During a career in England that spanned 13 years and 226 matches across formats, Taylor has forged a reputation for herself as one of the preeminent wicketkeepers – male or female – in world cricket.
She still holds the record of 51 stunts in both the ODI and T20I formats, while some of her tackles, including a Jodie Fields drive-through catch in the 2013 Ashes—off Hazell Bowling, no less—entered folklore.
“It would be a good test for me,” Taylor said. “I might be a little rusty but part of the reason I play is to get rid of that. I hope I do well and can continue where I left off. If I don’t, it’s okay, I just go back to swing things and remember what it’s like to hold for 50 times.
“I know the Diamonds are good and I’m looking forward to joining them for training tomorrow.”
Northern Diamonds won two games and lost one of their three RHFT matches so far – that defeat came in a thrilling opening match in Headingley that showcased the best in women’s cricket, as Central Sparks chased away a stinging 280 goals to win by 2 wickets. .
“You look at the matches that have happened so far in the competition and you can really see the evolution of the women’s game,” Taylor said. “We are playing on good pitches on good ground and this is a testament to the way the record is going. Every year the situation is getting better and better. I have two years to catch him. I hope I can do that and we can go well.
“I’ve played at Headingley before, it’s a great pitch and I’ve loved playing there in the past when we had the chance. Playing against the South East Stars, there’s a student from my school playing with them so it’s going to be good fun.”
Reflecting on her return to the sport, Taylor said through her signature with Hundred and her consulting work at Sussex: “I had to take some time out of the game to get a little bit of her perspective, but after everything settled down life was back to normal, and it was nice to be I then have the opportunity to look at the game and have a look at it.
“Once the opportunity came up with the Sussex and then the Welsh Fire, it was a really easy decision to come back. Now with the Northern Diamonds, I think I’d be stupid to cut those chances.”