Taylor relishing added responsibility
James Taylor is confident he can deal with heightened expectations following another fine season with Leicestershire.
The 20-year-old batsman is rated by many as one of the brightest prospects in English cricket and provided further evidence of his prodigious talent in 2010 as he passed 1,000 first-class runs for a second successive year.
He finished as Leicestershire’s leading run-scorer in the LV= County Championship and was also the club’s second highest scorer in the Clydesdale Bank 40 and Friends Provident t20.
Voted the domestic game's young player of the year in 2009 by both the Cricket Writers’ Club and the Professional Cricketers’ Association, Taylor is pleased to have delivered once again.
He told ecb.co.uk: “It was another good season. I performed well in championship cricket and probably better in one-day and Twenty20 cricket, which I was pleased with.
“I feel my game definitely stepped up a notch from last year in the one-day format.
“In the championship I had some tricky patches at the beginning of the season when the ball was doing quite a bit, but I got through them and managed to kick on and score over 1,000 runs.
“I was really pleased with that as it was the second year in a row.
“Plenty of people talk about second-season syndrome but I knew that wasn’t going to be the case. I worked really hard with the ECB and Leicestershire over the winter and took all my experiences from that into the season.
“I learned so much more about my game and I think that definitely showed in the way I played. I look at it as an even better season than my first season.”
When questioned about the added pressure that comes with such success, Taylor added: “I love that - to be relied on to score heavily in all forms.
“Even though I’m young I thrive on pressure. Scoring runs for Leicestershire is what I’m here to do and that’s the way I’m going to get noticed by the England selectors.”
Taylor has already featured for England Lions and has another chance to impress the selectors when he travels to Brisbane tomorrow with the England Performance Programme.
He was also involved with the EPP last winter and is looking forward to developing his game further upon his arrival in Australia.
“I’ve never been out to Australia before and I’ve been told the pitches out there will suit my game,” he added.
“They are renowned for being quick and bouncy so hopefully that’s the case.
“It’s obviously an honour to be involved in any ECB side or training camp.
“It’s going to be so beneficial for my game, using these coaches and using the facilities that we’ve got at Loughborough [where the National Cricket Performance Centre is based] and the ones we’re going to use in Australia.
“The training is so intense. You are only going to move forward by being put under pressure more and making practice harder than the actual game and that’s what we try to do in the Performance squad.”
Taylor’s technical ability is there for all to see, but his performances are also underpinned by a steely determination to make the most of his natural talent.
“I’m constantly looking to work on all areas of the game,” he explained.
“I think I’ve learned more about my game in the last 12 months and I know what has worked for me and what hasn’t worked.
“I’ve gone through the highs and lows of a season and it’s the lows where you learn more about yourself.
“I’ve just got to keep up a good work ethic, keep working hard and have a good winter. Hopefully I get selected on the Lions tour to the West Indies [in early 2011] and put in some good performances there.
“Experiencing lots of different conditions is only going to benefit my game and hopefully I can take those experiences into next season and put in even better performances.
“To score 1,000 runs for a third season on the bounce will be my main aim and hopefully Leicestershire can be promoted to Division One.”