Claire Taylor was a formidable batter for England in Test cricket for the best part of a decade and also kept wickets in the shorter formats.
Born on 25th September 1975 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, Claire was a right-hand batter and wicket keeper, first chosen for England on the strength of her batting. Her debut against Australia in the 4th ODI of the 1998 series and made just 1 run. It might be the last time the Aussies got her that cheaply, for Claire would go on to build a resume across all three formats as one of England’s finest.
Claire made her Test debut a year later in 1999 against India at Denis Compton Oval, Shenley. Again it was a light scoring affair with just 11 and 0 to her name. Nothing from that would indicate the cascade of runs to flow from her 15 Tests over a decade. Claire scored 1030 Test runs at 41.20 with a top score of 177, one of four centuries and two half centuries: one a rare breed who scored more Test tons than fifties. Two of those centuries (177, 131) in consecutive Tests against South Africa in 2003. Her Test aggregate is sixth best of all time for England, sandwiched between Enid Bakewell and Myrtle Maclagan.
Was Test cricket her best format? Hard to say. In 126 ODIs Claire scored 4101 runs at 40.20, slightly less than her Test average. Those runs are the second highest for England behind Charlotte Edwards. She scored eight centuries and 23 fifties. Her top score of 156 not out came against India in 2006. Claire played in the 2000, 2005 and 2009 World Cups, the last of those resulting in victory for England.
International T20 bowlers were not spared from this player’s batting either. In 26 T20Is Claire scored 615 runs with a strike rate of 118.72, surely among the best for a career that ran from 2004-2011. It included three half centuries, 12 catches and two stumpings, along with World Cup appearances in 2009 and 2010.Embed from Getty Images