There have been some extraordinary records made and broken in international cricket. Records such as the most runs and centuries belong to Sachin Tendulkar. The highest individual score in a Test innings was made the stylish Brian Charles Lara. Such luminaries as Shahid Afridi also have many records to their names.
Very few people, however, have considered the achievements made by female cricketers. The first ever ODI double ton was scored by Belinda Clarke of Australia in 2005, a milestone that went largely unnoticed – yet people cheered for Tendulkar as he made history by scoring the ‘first’ double century in an ODI against South Africa.
Similarly, the youngest ever player to score a century in an ODI is not Mohammad Ashraful, but Mithali Raj of India. I was not a follower of women’s cricket until I watched the 2011 World Cup. I saw some incredible potential and talent; players like Charlotte Edwards who is the English women’s team captain as well as the highest run scorer in the history of women’s cricket, Suzie Bates, the New Zealand captain and Chamari Attapattu of Sri Lanka. All are devastating players. It was a treat to watch Chamari playing shots all around the park. But, the player who I found most talented and can break all the batting records in women’s’ cricket is Sarah Taylor.
Taylor is the exciting and energetic specialist wicket keeper of the England women’s’ cricket team. She appeared on the scene in 2006 in a Test match against India at the age of 16. She managed only to score 37 runs in the whole match and in her first ODI appearance she did not get a chance to bat. When her turn did come, she steered her team to an easy victory by scoring 69 runs at a strike rate of run a ball. Sarah does not play much Test cricket, but she is a regular member of ODI side.
In 2008, she was included in the boys’ team of Brighton College along with Holly Collvins, something that created controversy. She was the main wicket keeper of that team. The reason that I believe that she can break the records is that, her skipper who is 33 has scored 5342 runs in 172 ODIs – the highest run tally in the history of women’s’ cricket.
Taylor is only 23 and has played 82 ODIs, already amassing 3268 runs at an average of 37. As far as my cricketing eye is concerned, her average will only get better and better as time goes on. Sarah is electrifying behind the stumps and has dismissed 97 batsmen in all, incorporating 65 catches and 32 stumpings.
You may find my next statement exaggerated but, the way she plays, she reminds me of the great English batsman Kevin Pietersen. She has the same aggression as KP; the way she walks down the wicket to the pacers and chips it over square leg and mid-on is worth praising and is quite identical to Pietersen. She is one of the very few female batsmen to completely free their arms whilst playing a shot. Taylor is a beautiful timer of the ball and has all the shots in her locker. She is undoubtedly one of the best female cricketers that has appeared in the international arena and I hope that she will prove it, too.
By Arslan Sheikh