The First Lady of First Grade Cricket
SA Scorpions English recruit Sarah Taylor is set to become the first women's cricketer to play a two-day match of First Grade Men's cricket in Australia.
Taylor will line up for Northern Districts Jets as they go into battle against Port Adelaide at Salisbury Oval this Saturday.
She will take the gloves as wicketkeeper and bat lower order for a team which kick started recent Australian national cricketers careers of Darren Lehmann, Ryan Harris, Mark Cosgrove and Graham Manou.
"I don't think it's hit me yet,” Taylor said to OSLSA
“I was only made aware of it (being the first woman to play a two day first grade game) last night (Wednesday) so I just thought it was for South Australia and that's literally what I thought and then someone mentioned it was for the entirety of Australia, probably that adds a little bit more pressure.”
According to current Jets captain and South Australian Redbacks star Mark Cosgrove the English born Taylor will adapt just fine to the step up from the women's to the men's competition.
"She will handle herself fine, she's a world class player and can adapt to most things," Cosgrove said.
"It's been great to have a world class player at our club."
Under the ICC Rankings, Taylor is currently ranked the number two women's cricketer in the world for One Day Cricket and number three for T20's but she is hoping for a strong performance with the wicket keeping gloves.
"The keeping side of things I will be most critical of and if I can hold my own with the batting I'll be happy," Taylor, who grew up wanting to be an archaeologist explained.
“I’ve got to be positive and do as best I can."
Taylor could not be in better form currently, scoring a century for the SA Scorpions in their opening One Day clash at almost a run-a-ball (101 off 103) last weekend in Perth.
"It can only help,” Taylor mused.
“It’s obviously a completely different game (this weekend), it's a different coloured ball and a different format.
"But the keeping will be the thing I’ll be looking at most and with the batting I will just be happy to get bat on ball and score some runs for the side I doubt I will be batting in the top six or seven.
“I'd hopefully like to watch Cozzie (Cosgrove) score some runs."
Since Taylor has been involved at the club the players, supporters and members are quite excited to have the talented international within the environment.
The Jets are fortunate to have another two English recruits as to who Taylor knows quite well, Joe Gatting and Jordan Clarke.
"Clarkey I'm a friend of his brothers and Joe Gatting I went to school with so I know Gatts quite well and I've known them for years so it's quite strange to see them here and playing cricket with them, he was a brilliant cricketer at school and also Sussex so its a little bit strange for me."
Taylor is no strange to men's cricket having played in England for a team in Yorkshire and the Birmingham Premier League for Walmley CC where she scored fifty in her first game and she knows she has to back herself knowing the cricket world is behind her making her mark in Australian cricket history.
"I've got to back myself so I wouldnt say the confidence is as high as it should be I'll see how I go against the pace in the nets tonight," Taylor said.
"I just want to do well, I'm definitely nervous and the guys are all behind me and that helps, everyone in South Australia has been behind me as well."
Taylor has achieved three consecutive International Cricket Council (ICC) awards, named 2014 Women's One Day International Cricketer of the Year along with she has also secured the 2012 and 2013 ICC T20 International Women's Cricketer of the Year honours. She has played 90 One Day Internationals scoring 2,899 runs at an average of 39.71 including 5 centuries and 14 half centuries. She has also played 67 T20 Internationals with an impressive batting average of 30.90 and strike rate of 108 which includes 11 half centuries.
Images- Andrew Frackowski - Copyright - Our Sporting Life SA