Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy – Sarah Taylor signs for Northern Diamonds in response to wicketkeeping crisis


England legend hasn’t played competitively for nearly two years

Sarah Taylor, the former England Women’s wicketkeeper, has come out of retirement a month ahead of schedule, and will make her competitive comeback for Northern Diamonds at Emerald Headingley on Saturday, in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Taylor, 32, has not played professionally since retiring at the end of the 2019 season due to her long-term struggle with anxiety issues. But, having returned to the sport as a wicketkeeping consultant for Sussex this season, she was due to resume her playing career for Welsh Fire in the augural season of the Hundred.

However, she has now answered a call from her former England team-mate, Dani Hazell, Northern Diamonds’ coach, following the loss of both of the team’s designated wicketkeepers. Bess Heath is injured and Lauren Winfield-Hill is away on England duty, so Taylor will slot straight into the side against South East Stars this weekend.

“Dani gave me a call and told me that Lauren was going off with England and Bess is injured so they were after a keeper,” Taylor said. “It’s good for me to play in a good competition in preparation for my Hundred stint. It’s kind of a win-win for everyone really, but it was really nice of Dani to think of me.”

In the course of an England career that spanned 13 years and 226 matches across formats, Taylor forged herself a reputation as one of the outstanding wicketkeepers – male or female – in world cricket.

She still holds the record of 51 stumpings in both the ODI and T20I formats, while some of her dismissals, including a pre-emptive diving catch to dismiss Jodie Fields in the 2013 Ashes – off Hazell’s bowling, no less – have entered folklore.