In her first interview since taking a break from cricket a year ago, Sarah Taylor has given the strongest indication yet that she will be back in England colours come the opening World Cup game on 24 June.
“To be back in time for the World Cup has been a hard journey but very worth it,” she said, in a video recorded by the ECB.
“It’s been a tough 12 months and lots has been learned in that time. In terms of where I am with my cricket, I’m incredibly comfortable to be back playing and the girls have been absolutely brilliant. It’s just nice to be back around them and the fact that the World Cup is at home as well makes it extra special.”
Speaking about her recent return to playing with her teammates in the UAE, she said: “In the UAE it felt like I was wearing that shirt for the first time. I’m almost looking back at my career and seeing this as a bit of a blank canvas.”
The real test for Taylor will come when she walks out in front of several thousand fans at Derby; she is confident, though, that she is ready for that:
“I feel like I’m probably mentally strong enough to deal with those pressures. I’m back and I’m ready to face the World Cup and the scrutiny that professional sport brings.”
She admits that she still suffers from social anxiety on a day to day basis, but says that she is “most comfortable out in the middle: batting, wicket-keeping and being around the girls.”
“Batting’s more fun now than it was back then! Once you eliminate all the things that are going on inside your head you’re able to just purely enjoy the game.”
Overall, she is cautiously optimistic about both her own comeback and England’s World Cup chances. “I’m proud that I’ve even put myself out there to do it,” she says. “I want to win as much as the next person – and I’m hoping that there’ll be success with my own mental health and we can see a trophy at the same time.”