By Rob Barnett
Sarah Taylor, the Women's Twenty20 international cricketer of the year, says Australia, New Zealand and West Indies will be England’s main challengers for the Women's World Twenty20 title.
Holders Australia are back-to-back victors, having triumphed in 2010 and 2012 - latterly pipping England in the final at Colombo.
Taylor, a winner of the inaugural women’s tournament in 2009 on home soil, has played in all three Women’s World T20s, so knows what she is talking about.
The experienced wicketkeeper-batter, who is still just 24, will play a key role in England’s Group B campaign, which starts versus the Windies on Monday and continues against India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Asked who could win in Bangladesh, she replied: “I think you’ve got to look at the big teams like Australia. They hold it so they’re going to be difficult. New Zealand and West Indies are going to be contenders as well.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought tournament and there’s going to be some good games for people to watch.”
Although England cannot meet Australia until the semi-finals, they know much about one another after back-to-back Ashes series in the last year.
Charlotte Edwards’ side were victorious in both multi-format rubbers, but Australia latterly took the T20 section 2-1.
“It’s definitely a good thing,” Taylor said of the rivals’ familiarity.
“I suppose they know a lot about us as well. But I think you’ve got to go in there with preparations for coming to Bangladesh itself and preparation for facing each team.
“We’ve got that background information on them, which will be good, and then you’ve just got to look at conditions out here and adjust your game accordingly.”
All the women’s group games will be played in Sylhet, where large crowds are expected. The semi-finals and final will precede the respective men’s matches at Mirpur.
“That’s absolutely brilliant news in terms on women’s cricket,” Taylor said of the anticipated audiences.
“I’ve played in a few (games with big crowds) in my time and in terms of the noise it’s actually quite hard to hear people, but at the same time you get that buzz from the crowd and that energy.
“So I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can build on that energy that they give us.”
“Looking back maybe a month up at Loughborough and Edgbaston back home, those preparations were key for what we’ve dealt with out here and I think the progression since we’ve arrived in Bangladesh has been brilliant as well,” Taylor added.
“So we’re just taking every day as it comes and trying to tweak a few things every day.”