Former England women’s wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor will be working as a mentor with the Sussex county men’s side for the upcoming season, confirmed the club in a groundbreaking appointment on Monday (March 15).
Taylor, regarded as one of the best wicketkeepers to have played the game, retired in 2019 aged 30 after a lengthy battle with anxiety. She has now decided to step on largely unfamiliar territory, being a woman coach of professional sportsmen in the Sussex set-up.
“We have a really talented group of keepers at Sussex who I am looking forward to working with immensely,” Sarah Taylor said in a media release. “I want to share my experience and expertise to help them get the most out of their game. I’m a big believer in keeping things simple and perfecting the basics so that players can enjoy and express themselves with the gloves.”
Taylor played 226 times for England with 232 dismissals under her bag and will be focusing primarily on wicketkeeping in her job. But her expertise with the bat and experience in handling mental health issues will also prove beneficial to a lot of the Sussex players.
Taylor became a sports and life coach at Bede’s School in Eastbourne after her retirement. As told to ESPNcricinfo recently, the 31-year-old hasn’t yet ruled out a comeback to playing cricket despite not having held the bat since her last outing in August 2019 for Surrey’s KSL side.
She also helped launch the Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub in January 2021, which is an online resource set up by the club for which she played for 15 years.
"We have a really talented group of keepers at Sussex. I want to share my experience and expertise to help them get the most out of their game." 🗣️💬@Sarah_Taylor30 is "really pleased" to have joined the club's coaching staff for the forthcoming season:
— Sussex Cricket (@SussexCCC) March 15, 2021
Sarah Taylor will be of great value to the club: Sussex
James Kirtley, joint Sussex head coach with Ian Salisbury, welcomed Sarah Taylor saying she will be of immense value to not just the players but also the club’s environment.
“She is hugely skilled in the world of wicketkeeping, but she will also bring so much good as a person around our group,” Kirtley said.
“She adds great perspective to a situation and as a coach she provides an excellent sounding board for ideas and is a fantastic communicator. I am certain she will become a huge asset to our setup.”
Apart from Taylor, Sussex have also announced Ashley Wright as an assistant to lead batting coach Jason Swift. Wright brings with him a wealth of coaching experience, having been with Surrey and Bangladesh Premier League side, Rajshahi Kings. He was also the head coach of Guernsey previously for 4 years.
Both Taylor and Wright will be working with the professional squad and the Sussex Cricket Pathway, which is for the development of junior players, on a part-time basis.
“They both bring a huge amount of cricketing knowledge, skill and experience, as well as a fantastic work ethic, to the entirety of our player pathway. Equally as important, Sarah and Ash both fit our mantra of coaching the whole person, not just the cricketer very well,” said Salisbury.