Former England wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Taylor has joined the Northern Diamonds and will debut on Saturday at Emerald Headingley.
32-year-old Taylor, who announced that she was coming out of retirement to play for Welsh Fire in the inaugural year of The Hundred, will go straight into the team with Lauren Winfield-Hill away on England duty and Bess Heath injured.
Known for her outstanding glove-work, the former England star still holds the records for the most stumpings in Women’s IT20s and ODIs with 51 in each format. The right-hander’s batting record is also enviable, having scored over 4,000 runs in ODIs, including seven hundreds and 20 fifties.
Northern Diamonds’ newest recruit said: “Dani (Hazell) gave me a call and told me that Lauren (Winfield-Hill) was going off with England and Bess (Heath) is injured so they were after a keeper, and it’s good for me to play in a good competition in preparation for my Hundred stint. It’s kind of a win-win for everyone really, but it was really nice of Dani to think of me.
“It’s going to be a good test for me. I might be a little bit rusty but part of the reason for me playing is to get rid of that. Hopefully, I will perform well and can carry on where I left off. If I don’t then it’s okay, it’s just me getting back into the swing of things and remembering what it’s like to keep for 50 overs.
“I know the Diamonds squad is a good one and I’m looking forward to joining them at training tomorrow.”
Northern Diamonds have got off to a strong start with two wins and a loss in a thrilling opening game at Emerald Headingley, a fixture that arguably displayed the progress that has been made in the women’s game.
“You look at the games that have happened so far in the competition and you can really see the development of the women’s game,” said Taylor. “We’re playing on good pitches at good grounds and that is testament to the way the standard is going. Every year it is getting better and better. I’ve got a couple of years to catch up. Hopefully I can do that and we can go well.
“I have played at Headingley before, it’s a great ground and I’ve loved playing there in the past when we’ve had the chance. Playing against the South East Stars, there’s a student of mine from my school playing for them so that will be good fun.”
The wicketkeeper played her last competitive game in 2019, but has found her way back into the game in the last year, firstly taking a coaching role with Sussex CCC before signing to play in the opening year of The Hundred.
Commenting on these opportunities, Taylor said: “I had to take some time out of the game to gain a little bit of perspective on it, but after everything had settled down, life got back to normal. It was nice to then have the opportunity to look at the game and throw myself into it.
“Once the opportunity came around with 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 turn these opportunities down.”