Taylor hails historic honour
Claire Taylor described becoming the first woman to be named among Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year as the “the icing on the cake”, following England women’s World Cup triumph last month.
Taylor’s accolade was revealed today along with male counterpart James Anderson and South African trio Dale Benkenstein, Mark Boucher and Neil McKenzie.
The 33-year-old batsman is accustomed to individual honours in the women’s game, having been named player of the World Cup for her 324 runs at 65, but she admits to being shocked by this one.
She joins legends of the game to have graced English cricket, including fellow batsmen W.G. Grace, Don Bradman, Len Hutton and Viv Richards.
She told ecb.co.uk: “It’s been a really brilliant couple of weeks with the World Cup win and everything. This is the icing on the cake really.”
“Being the first woman to be named as one of the Wisden Five is a huge honour, the recognition in the cricketing bible. To be put up among other great players this century and last in amazing.”
Taylor, who made her England debut in 1998, is aware of the legacy of former women’s greats who too could have been included in the annual quintet.
She referred in particular all-rounder Enid Bakewell, whose England career spanned three decades from 1968 to 1982.
“For me to be named the first is an amazing one, when I think back on some of the names to have graced women’s cricket even over the past 50 to 100 years,” Taylor added.
“There have been some truly great players out there, Enid Bakewell being one of the pioneers. I think she got a hundred and 10 wickets in a Test match, and achievements like that.
“And then coming to the World Cup winning side of ‘93 had some really talented individuals in it, so for me to be the first is a massive honour.”
Taylor found out about the award award several weeks ago at a meeting with Scyld Berry, editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, but had to keep her joy under wraps until today.
“I knew about it a while back but I never thought ‘do you know what I want to be the first woman in Wisden’”, she revealed.
“I never thought that, so when Scyld phoned me up to arrange an interview and conducted the interview and told me, it was a shock but a really good kind of shock.
“I’ve had a little star in my diary by these two days and dinner next week and I haven’t been able to tell anybody about this for quite some time.
“It’s great that everybody knows now, but it will take another couple of weeks for things to settle back down and get back to work and start the domestic cricket season.”
Taylor’s inclusion in this year’s Wisden quintet is recognition of her cricketing talent alongside today’s male stars. However, like her team-mates, she must earn a part-time living outside her England commitments.
She returned to her job as a management consultant at Reading University on Monday, following last month’s World Cup final victory over New Zealand in Sydney.
“They didn’t find too much for me to do so it was nice to get back and sort out the inbox and find out where we are in all my projects,” she concluded.