Claire Taylor backs England for Women’s World Cup semi-final spot

England lost their opening game to Australia but showed an improved performance from the recent Women’s Ashes

Sonia Twigg
Tuesday 08 March 2022 18:03
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<p>Heather Knight’s team lost their World Cup opener to Australia </p>

Heather Knight’s team lost their World Cup opener to Australia

World Cup winner Claire Taylor believes Heather Knight’s England team will reach the semi-finals of this year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup.

England showed a marked improvement after failing to win a single match in the multi-format Women’s Ashes last month as they pushed Australia to the final over on Saturday in the tournament opener.

Knight’s side started their title defence with a 12-run defeat but Taylor, who won the tournament in 2009, believes the improvement is significant.

“We did bat better against Australia than we had earlier (in the Ashes) but I think we should make the semi-finals and then it’s anyone’s competition,” Taylor told the PA news agency.

Australia went into the tournament as the favourites and have dominated the women’s scene over the last four years, since becoming the first country to professionalise their domestic women’s game with the first Women’s Big Bash in 2015-16.

England did not follow suit until 2019, when they introduced the first regional professional contracts following a heavy Ashes defeat, but Taylor believes the international side can catch up.

“Yes. I don’t know how long, it’s going to take a while for the benefits to be seen from this regional domestic structure, I think it’s going to take a couple of years – maybe slightly less time for the benefits of the Hundred to be seen,” she said.

Taylor played for England for over a decade and was part of the Evolution of Women’s Cricket event at Lord’s

“For our young domestic cricketers, to be playing in teams where they have three overseas internationals plus a couple of England players, that will accelerate their development significantly.

“So I think we’ll see the benefits from the Hundred quicker than the regional structures, but still those things will come through.”

For Taylor, who was not paid during her own 13-year international career as international contracts were only introduced by the ECB in 2014, the sport has already made significant progress.

“I was never one of the generation that had to pay to play, neither was I the generation that was paid to play,” she said.

“We were supported, we were treated like low-level Olympic athletes in that we had the support from the English Institute of Sport and we had access to coaching and we were given some money so we could pay for gym memberships and new trainers and that sort of stuff.

Taylor was not paid to play during her international career which spanned over a decade

“Fast forward 20 years from me and they’re being paid to play so that is an amazing transition from even as late as the mid-1990s, players were paying for their own blazer and paying towards travel costs, and then 2014 the first professional contracts, it’s an amazing evolution.”

Taylor was speaking on International Women’s Day after the MCC unveiled a new Evolution of Women’s Cricket exhibition at the Lord’s museum.

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