Sussex coach Mark Robinson admits the prospect of England women’s international Sarah Taylor playing alongside the men is an exciting one.
Taylor – who flies to India ahead of the World Cup on Thursday – has revealed she is in talks over a potentially pioneering move to play for Sussex 2nd XI this summer.
The Sussex and England wicketkeeper-batsman is rated as one of the finest women cricketers of all time and national women’s coach Mark Lane is keen for the former Brighton College pupil to take her game to the next level by playing against men.
Robinson said: “Carl Hopkinson (Sussex 2nds coach) was speaking to Mark and when he mentioned we might be short of a keeper for part of the summer he said ‘why don’t you consider Sarah?’ “The first step would be for Sarah to practise with the second team and if she is comfortable with the environment then it could be an option. Sarah came through our academy with (England and Sussex team-mate) Holly Colvin so they have practised with boys before.
“We are okay for spinners so there probably wouldn’t be an opportunity for Holly to play but there may be for Sarah. If it didn’t deprive someone coming through our system and would help Sarah’s development then why not? We have checked the rules and regulations and there is nothing to say it can’t happen.
“It would be interesting to see how she adapts but the key thing is we would not be doing it for the novelty factor or as a gimmick. I’m aware there would be a lot of interest from the amount of phone calls I have taken on the subject but we would only do if it helped Sarah’s development and helped us out too.”
Callum Jackson will take over as the regular 2nd XI keeper this season following Andrew Hodd’s departure to Yorkshire at the end of last summer. However, the 18-year-old is due to miss part of the season through a combination of England under-19 commitments and A Levels.
That would leave only new academy recruit Leo Cammish or Joe Gatting – who has kept on a few occasions – as options.
Robinson added: “Sarah is one of the best players in the world and part of any high achiever is they put themselves out of their comfort zone. They are prepared to take risks and expose themselves to things the average person wouldn’t.”