Kate Cross on Thunder team-mate Sarah Taylor
Kate Cross believes Lancashire Thunder star Sarah Taylor could be a better player now than she was before her health enforced break from the game.
And the England wicketkeeper-batsman agrees with her close friend’s assessment, describing herself as “tighter” and “clearer” ahead of her Kia Super League debut on Wednesday.
Taylor, 26-years-old, was due to play for the Thunder last summer, only to miss out as she spent a year away from the game up until April with anxiety issues.
Unfortunately, she then missed last Friday’s opening day defeat to Yorkshire Diamonds at Headingley due to being maid of honour at her sister’s wedding.
Brighton-born Taylor will, however, line-up against Surrey Stars at Emirates Old Trafford at 2.30pm tomorrow in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Taylor has come into this competition on the back of hugely successful World Cup, with her haul of 396 runs fourth on the list of leading run-scorers.
Prior to the World Cup, her last appearance for England was in February of last year.
Her return to cricket came on an England training camp in Abu Dhabi in April, which fast bowler Cross was a part of.
“Sarah is the definition of world class and is a cut above anything I’ve ever seen in women’s cricket,” said Cross, also in line for her first appearance of the campaign having missed Yorkshire due to a hip flexor injury.
“I’m lucky enough to call Sarah one of my best friends, and she’s inspired me for however many years.
“I remember watching her in Abu Dhabi. Just getting over there was big for her because she was really struggling with anxiety and travel, all that kind of stuff, never mind how she played.
“But I remember watching her bat and then speaking to my mum and dad on FaceTime and them asking how she was getting on.
“I said ‘You wouldn’t know she’s not picked a bat up for a year’.
“She almost looked a better player having had the time off.
“She’s come back into an ICC tournament, not knowing how she’s going to fare, and that 147 she scored (in a group win over South Africa) was just ridiculous.
“For me, watching that final win at Lord’s, you remember what everyone’s been through.
“Tammy Beaumont didn’t think she’d play for England ever again and was player of the tournament. Little things like that.
“Sarah, she will be one of those who probably writes a book. Her story is just incredible. I’m so proud of her for how far she’s come.”
Taylor, who has scored nearly 6,000 international runs in all and claimed 208 dismissals, will take over the gloves from Ellie Threlkeld for a game which involves six England World Cup winners.
Lancashire captain Danielle Hazell will join Taylor, as will Surrey’s Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver, Laura Marsh and Alex Hartley.
The Stars, one of the favourites to win the title at Finals Day at Hove on September 1, won their opening match against Yorkshire at the Oval on Sunday as they comfortably chased a 101 target.