Sussex and ECB clarify Taylor speculation

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Sussex County Cricket Club and ECB today sought to clarify recent press reports surrounding Sussex and England women's star Sarah Taylor.

The past 24 hours have seen a significant amount of speculation relating to Sarah Taylor debuting for the Sussex Second XI this season. Whilst the club can confirm that initial and informal conversations have taken place between Sussex coaching staff and England women's coach Mark Lane it needs to be stressed that these are at a very embryonic stage.

Sussex hold the abilities of Sarah, and indeed her Sussex and England playing partner - Holly Colvin - in very high regard, and to this end Sarah could, theoretically, solve our short-term dilemma surrounding our Second XI wicketkeeping place, with both Academy keepers Callum Jackson and Leo Cammish still in full-time education and therefore unavailable for the early part of the season.

Sarah Taylor

Sussex and the ECB have stressed that conversations about England women's wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor potentially playing Second XI cricket for the county are at a "very embryonic stage."

Sussex at the moment are going to look at all available options including the possibility of using Sarah. In her case the first step would involve practising with the Second XI and to re-evaluate from there.

Sussex's professional cricket manager Mark Robinson said: “Our second team coach, Carl Hopkinson, has spoken to Mark Lane about the fact we might be short of a wicketkeeper for the early part of the summer.

“There may be an opportunity for Sarah in the future but at the moment the key thing is for her to train with the Second XI. Then we can see if she has adapted to the environment and then if we have an opportunity to play her, we can potentially take it a step further.”

Clare Connor, the ECB’s Head of England Women's Cricket, said: “Sarah Taylor and Holly Colvin are highly skilled cricketers who have progressed through the Sussex system including the Sussex Academy under the guidance of Keith Greenfield. Their potential, as with most young cricketers, is still to be fulfilled despite both players having already achieved so much for England in World Cups and Ashes Series.

“Any opportunity for our players to be challenged and for their development to be accelerated beyond the norm would be welcomed, so long as those opportunities tallied with the player's stage of development.

“There is no getting away from the fact that this dialogue with Sussex CCC is a hugely positive step for the game and our players. It is indicative of how the women's game has progressed in recent years if players are turning heads in this way. I think it is also fantastic to know that first-class counties are open to such possibilities.”

ECB Chairman Giles Clarke said: "I applaud the sensible initiative of Sussex CCC in leading the way to explore this kind of opportunity for our outstanding women cricketers. Many of them played with boys in young age and they developed faster for that. I have had the privilege of playing with Sarah and she is a magnificent player."