Wisden award for Taylor

Claire Taylor

Claire Taylor poses in the Long Room at Lord's with the 2009 Wisden Almanack

England women’s star Claire Taylor has been named as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year for 2009.

Taylor has earned the highly respected accolade after a series of outstanding performances helped England win an Ashes series in Australia last year and the recent World Cup. She is the first woman to be included in the prestigious quintet.

The 33-year-old, who has played 109 one-day internationals, was player of the tournament after scoring a hundred and two half-centuries in England’s successful World Cup campaign down under last month.

The award is a further shot in the arm for the women’s game in this country on the back of that World Cup win.

England seamer James Anderson is also honoured as reward for his recent renaissance, while the other three cricketers of the year are all South Africans.

Durham captain Dale Benkenstein receives recognition for his role in leading the county to their first championship title while Mark Boucher and Neil McKenzie starred in the Proteas’ Test win in England.

The 2009 edition of the Wisden Cricketers Almanack is published next week.

Editor Scyld Berry said: “Beating Australia in Australia is the objective for all cricketers, at least in England, and Claire almost single-handedly saw England through to victory and the retention of the Ashes in Australia last year, not to mention her success in the World Cup just a couple of weeks back.

“It would be a sin of omission, an act of prejudice, to exclude her from the accolade.

“The England women have been the pride of the nation as far as cricket is concerned in recent years, and Claire’s nomination as a cricketer of the year is testament to the sterling effort the ladies have consistently put in.”