By Dave Clark
Sarah Taylor is under no illusions as to the size of the task that awaits England when they attempt to defend the Women’s Ashes in Australia next month.
The wicketkeeper-batter was an integral part of the side that defeated their rivals 12 points to four on home soil this summer, but expects retaining the bragging rights to be an even bigger challenge.
Taylor also predicts that Australia’s men regaining the Ashes in such convincing style will make life harder still, with home players and supporters boosted by the turnaround in fortunes for Michael Clarke’s side.
“Its going to be difficult going out there,” the 24-year-old told ecb.co.uk when she, Katherine Brunt and Heather Knight visited Sky's studios to promote the Women's Ashes.
“When England’s men won at home it was a massive boost for us, so there is no doubt in my mind that they will come a lot harder because of the success of their men, so we’ve got to be ready for that and hopefully combat it.
“Everyone knows that Australia in their own back garden are going to fight hard and they will come out with all guns blazing and we were fully aware of that.
“We can watch the England men’s cricket and learn a few things, so we’ll take what we can from it, but the focus is much more on the Australians.
“We’ve got our preparation, we’ve done it all. There are no new surprises, we just need to look at adapting to the conditions out there so that’s our main focus for the moment.”
The Women’s Ashes will, like the recent series in England, be played across all three formats.
And in Taylor the tourists officially have the best Twenty20 player in the women’s game, after she won the ICC Women’s Twenty20 cricketer of the year award for the second time in succession.
“It was a little bit of a shock to be honest,” added the Sussex star. “It’s nice to know that all the hard work you put in behind the scenes and all the good things you do on the field are recognised.
“I think my game probably suits the T20 format, and it’s nice to know that I love playing it and get recognition for it as well.
“I wasn't expecting it - I couldn’t even remember the times it was taken between - things go so quickly you don't even remember what you’ve done in that year. So like I say, it’s a complete honour.”
Follow the Women's Ashes ball-by-ball via the following media:
Live Scores: www.ecb.co.uk and www.cricket.com.au
Twitter: @ECB_cricket and @SouthernStars
Television: live stream at www.cricket.com.au
Radio: 5 Live Sports Extra, ABC Grandstand or online via www.cricket.com.au/live/audio-stream