Monday, 15 April 2013

Sarah Taylor, superstar

Sarah Taylor plays towards the off-side, England v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, Women's World T20, Colombo, October 4, 2012Sarah Taylor: legend in the making © ICC/GettyEnlargeRelated LinksGuest Column : Mixed cricket? No thanks, boysPlayers/Officials: Sarah TaylorTeams: EnglandDateline 2050. As the lights go up in a Sydney TV studio, a slim, trim figure takes the stage to tumultuous applause. Two full minutes elapse before the presenter can make herself heard above the din…Presenter: Ladies and gentlemen, Meet the Legends is honoured to present a woman for whom no praise can be too high, the first woman ever to play men's professional cricket. She may be a Pom, but we love her all the same… Sarah Taylor.aylor: Thanks Marcie, great to be here. You may be whingeing Cobbers but the admiration is mutual.Presenter: What a gal. Sixty years young today and still as witty as a kangaroo on coke. Only kidding, folks. Remind us how bad it used to be, how little you Poms valued women's cricket until you finally saw the light.Taylor: Charlie Edwards told me that when she made her England debut in 1996, she not only had to play in a skirt but had to stump up 60 quid for her blazer. How jealous they were of you pampered Aussies back then. And I remember an interview with Gill Smith shortly after she'd helped us qualify for the 1993 World Cup final by bowling you lot out at Guildford, a day made especially memorable because the men were losing the Ashes. She reckoned she'd spent around 5000 quid of her own money flying the flag. Back then they often had to hire their own cars.
Presenter: Blimey.Taylor: That wasn't the half of it. After training, the coach, Ruth Prideaux, had her living room crammed with sleeping bags by midnight. Gill was an office manager and had had to take half the time off on special leave, half on annual leave - and she was one of the lucky ones. If your employer was sexist, you'd had it. To present a more businesslike front, the organisers curbed the fundraising activities of Audrey Collins, president of the Women's Cricket Association and a member of what Sarah Potter, the playwright Dennis' daughter and an ex-international, had dubbed "the blue-rinse brigade". Selling chocolate bars to spectators was not the image required.

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