Congratulations to the England Womens Cricket Team, who today won the 2017 Women’s World Cup in front of a sell-out Lords crowd.
It is only fair to put what was perhaps an unexpected victory down to a real team effort. By all accounts the team is pretty much family – not in the way the men’s side has, in the pas, been harder to get out of than it was to get in – but in the way the players work and, in several cases, live together. All the batters made contributions (one, Nat Sciver even invented an incredible new shot; the ‘Nat-meg’) whilst the bowlers all took wickets at important times, none more so than Anya Shrubsole’s incredible 6-fer in the final today.
However, for me, the highlight of England’s triumph has been the return to the side of wicketkeeper/batter Sarah Taylor. Last year she stood down from all cricket due to anxiety issues, giving a brave and honest interview about the demons she faced. One year later she’s back on top of the world. A world champion. What a return to the team. Vital runs (including a big century and important runs in the final) throughout and outstanding keeping throughout. A fit and firing Sarah Taylor is one of the – if not the – best female cricketers in the world.
As someone who has fought their own mental health issues – and continues to do so – I hugely admire what she has done/is doing. Looking back, giving up cricket – although I didn’t know it at the time – was one of the starting points of my own struggles. Although I’ve conquered many demons and I still have a hankering to take up cricket again on some level I have yet to do so, 5 years on. That’s why Sarah Taylor is someone I hold in the highest regard possible.
England are very lucky to have her.