'Threlkeld one of the best in the country': Sarah Taylor
England great Sarah Taylor has been discussing Lancashire and Thunder wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld
Lancashire and Thunder wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld has one of the best pair of hands in the country, believes England legend Sarah Taylor.
Threlkeld, 22-years-old, and Taylor were team-mates in 2017 when both played Kia Super League cricket for the Lancashire Thunder.
Wicketkeeper-batter Taylor is one of England’s greatest cricketers and, having retired in late 2019, is preparing for a comeback with Cardiff based Welsh Fire in this summer’s inaugural Hundred competition.
It is likely that the pair will face off in that event, with Threlkeld also signed up to play for the Manchester Originals.
“With Ellie, the world is her oyster,” said Taylor.
“She has got phenomenal hands - one of the best in the country.
“The talent has always been there. The next thing you know, she scores a fifty, gets more experience and knows her game a bit more.
“It is now just a case of ‘head down and keep going’ for her.”
Sussex-born Taylor, very much an artist with the wicketkeeping gloves on, only wore the Red Rose in three KSL games in the summer of 2017.
That fifty she mentioned for Threlkeld came in a Roses win over the Yorkshire Diamonds at Emerald Headingley in July 2018. In the same game, she claimed an incredible four stumpings and affected a run out.
“She’s very much a natural keeper. How good is that!” continued Taylor. “I may be biased, but I want to see as many of those as possible in the game. I would rather an out and out keeper in a T20 side any day of the week.
“I did some research on this. If you consider from seven to 11 in an order, you’re likely not to bat in T20, or certainly much at all anyway.
“If you have got a decent all-rounder or two in the top seven, I’d rather have an out and out keeper in the side because they can change a game with a catch or a stumping that’s a half chance, as Ellie did in that game when she announced herself as a player.
“I think that can be more valuable than the runs a keeper can give you. Her big advantage is that she does both disciplines very well.”
Rainford’s Threlkeld first wore the Red Rose as an Under 13 in 2010 before making her full county debut in 2013. Last week, she became the first wicketkeeper to claim 50 dismissals in T20 cricket for Lancashire.
Threlkeld was also an ever-present in the KSL between 2016 and 2019.
She has also gained England Academy experience. But can she elevate her career to senior honours?
Taylor said: “I think it will be a challenge because of the options England have behind the stumps. There’s Amy Jones, who has the gloves, and Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill can also do that job. Jonesy has plenty of cricket left in her as well.
“But do I think Ellie has the ability to play at that level, of course I do.
“That’s what we want from this new professional set-up in this country.
“For players to be playing more and more competitive cricket so that by the time they reach a higher level, England or just more professional cricket, they’ve been in those situations and understand what they need to do.
“It’s time on task. If she’s paid to play, with more coaching and development, the rewards will be quicker.
“Ellie’s been around a long time. It’s disgusting she’s only 22. That makes me feel really old!”
Even if Threlkeld, who clearly has time on her side, does not make it to the top level, however, her career can still scale special heights.
“Going back a few years, our thoughts were, ‘If we finish playing for England, that’s our career over’,” said Taylor. “It’s not been the same for the men. They could just go back to their counties.
“So that’s what we’ve always wanted as female cricketers. That option is there now for the women.
“If Ellie doesn’t become an England cricketer, she’s still got an amazing career ahead of her.
“You never know, with how cricket’s going around the world, you could get picked up to go abroad and be a proper franchise star.”
One thing which will certainly accelerate Threlkeld’s development is the appointment of former England coach Paul Shaw as the head coach of the North West Thunder.
Shaw specialises in wicketkeeping and helped Taylor, who said: “He’s been at the top and knows what’s needed and is expected. He’s seen all of us train and helped us at England level. He’s a great guy.”
Following her retirement as a player, Taylor has been bitten by the coaching bug. She is currently working at Bede’s School in Sussex and is her home county’s part-time wicketkeeping coach.
Capped 226 times by England across all formats, she is relishing her playing return in the Hundred: “It will be a lot of fun,” she added.