Tight-knit England target World Cup

Sarah Taylor spoke to ECBtv about her World Cup dream as the clock ticks towards the tournament

Sarah Taylor is banking on England’s team spirit carrying them to glory in the women’s World Cup next month.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has been one of the cornerstones of the all-conquering England side over the past 12 months, a period which has seen them retain the Ashes in Australia and embark on a 15-game winning streak in one-day and Twenty20 internationals.

And while confidence is soaring after a year of unprecedented success, Taylor claims the bond between the players is one of the key reasons for optimism ahead of the World Cup in Australia.

“We’re just friends - that’s by far the best thing about it,” she told ECBtv.

“You’re not going away with members of your team; you’re going away with friends. For 12 months we’ve just become solid.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better year, starting in Australia - that’s where we kicked off and wanted to prove a point.

“I’m glad that it carried on rather than just being a phase that some teams go through. The fact that we’ve carried on shows great character.”

England women

England women taste success in Australia early last year, the catalyst for a phenomenal 2008

Despite her tender years - she is just 19 - Taylor has established herself as one of the world’s leading players, and heads Down Under relishing the experience of playing in the world’s premier competition.

“I’m nervous and excited,” she said. “It’s my first World Cup, it’s big tournament; it’s in Australia as well, and you always want to do well in Australia.

“That’s probably where the nerves are, but as far as the performance is concerned, that’s just excitement.

“There is confidence, but never complacency - you can’t have any of that. There’s always stuff to improve on, so that’s what I’m working on, and hopefully it will come off in Australia.”

Australia and New Zealand are widely seen as the greatest threat to England’s chances of getting their hands on the World Cup, which runs from March 7-22.

England begin their campaign against Sri Lanka in Canberra on the opening day of the tournament, but Taylor is confident she and her team-mates have the beating of any side in the world.

She added: “They (Australia and New Zealand) are strong sides - they’ve got some strong characters in there.

“That’s where we have to raise our game. With the squad we’ve got now we can do that - we can play to our best and beat teams.

“We’ve got things to fear, but in other ways we haven’t got things to fear because we know we can do it.”