Taylor content with retirement decision
Claire Taylor insists she has no regrets following her decision to retire from international cricket as she prepares to focus on mentoring the next generation of female England cricketers.
The 35-year-old opted to bring her glittering England career to a halt after helping the team to success in the recent NatWest Quadrangular Series against Australia, New Zealand and India.
Speaking in the latest episode of the ECB Cricket Podcast, she said: “I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to achieve. When I first started in the game I wanted to be one of the best batters in the world and in 2009 I think I achieved that.
“I’m certainly going to take a rest from the game for the rest of the season. But I will be mentoring some of the younger players that are coming through.”
Taylor compiled 1,030 runs in 15 Test appearances for England, along with a further 4,101 in 126 one-day internationals and 615 in Twenty20 internationals.
She also lifted two World Cups, won the Ashes and was the first woman to be named one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year in 2009, when she also gained an MBE for her achievements in cricket.
After adding to such an impressive list of honours by helping England to victory in the recent Quadrangular Series, Taylor felt the time was right to bow out of the international arena.
“It was a decision that was fairly long in the making,” she explained. “I’d thought about it for probably over a year.
"After the amazing season that we had in 2009 I knew that I wanted to take a little bit of time out of the game so I took that winter off and then I had to look forward to what challenges there were ahead. I knew that this ranking competition (the Quadrangular Series) was going to be one I really wanted to stay around for.”
One of Taylor’s most memorable performances came in the 2009 World Twenty20 semi-final against Australia at the Oval, where she compiled a match-winning knock of 76 not out from 53 balls.
“It was an amazing experience,” she recalled. “In any sport you want those challenges, and to have to play at your best and in that moment, needing 120 off 70 odd balls, Beth Morgan and I, we rose to that challenge and that’s what you dream of doing as a competitor.”
Taylor’s enthusiasm for taking on challenges spread throughout the women’s game, and soon levels of expectation began to rise.
“When I first started in the game we were not as competitive, to put it politely,” she added.
“As a team we knew that we needed to improve and we worked really hard, especially in 2008 where we had a brilliant summer.
“With expectations rising of course it becomes even harder to balance full-time work or full-time study with the commitment that you need to play and train for England. The creation of the Chance to Shine scheme and the ability of the girls to work part-time and to be able to train part-time has really helped the game.”
Taylor’s influence has won praise from many figures in both the men and women’s game and former England captain Mike Gatting told ecb.co.uk: “I can’t speak any more highly of a lady who has given her all to women’s cricket. She has retired very gracefully, and hopefully with a huge amount of pride.”