Lessons to learn from Sarah Taylor’s Cricket journey

Often remembered as one of the best keepers from the women’s game, Sarah Taylor has had a career that one could dream of. She is still the go-to player when keeping skills are a point of your discussion. However, her story as the world’s best keeping options to retirement has lessons for budding Cricketers and sporting fraternity.

She was loved on the field for her fearless brand of cricket. Her stints behind the stumps got eyes of the world of the London born Cricketer. Sarah Taylor recently celebrated her 31st birthday and the internet was stuffed with clips of her lighting quick stumping.

Her career can least be decorated by the term ordinary. It is fine to say that the star had her share of fun, she was known as the jolly, fun-loving character in the dressing room.

Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor. Pic Credits: Screengrab from YouTube (ecb.co.uk)

 

Sarah had a love for the game that is shared by all cricketers around her. However, no player has marked her appearance in A-grade men’s game. She was the first female cricketer to feature in A-grade men’s contest in Australia. She represented Northern District in the match. She is currently the second-highest run-getter for English female cricket. Her career has 6533 runs. She is one of the best players to have played more than 100 one day matches.

In 126 ODIs, she has 4056 runs under her belt. She had her moments in the shortest format of the game as well. In 90 T-20, she got 2177 runs with a healthy average. Being, one of the fortune players of her generation, she got herself in 10 test matches where her bat gave 300 runs. As mentioned, people know her as a thunderous keeper from England. In all three formats and of all her outings, she got 232 dismissals as a keeper.

This is a record that still remains far from others. Fans and pundits had their eyes on her as they thought that the star was at her prime. It was being speculated that she has a lot of cricket left in herself. Her career ended due to issues with her mental health. Mental conditioning isn’t, by default, a matter of great concern as per the traditional view of sports. One had to be physically tough and smart. However, things have changed and the game has evolved alongside new ventures.

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The pressure of performing in front of thousands and being scrutinized by another million other days after the result takes a toll on each cricketer. Sarah Taylor called off her career battling anxiety issues. As per her statement, she felt that it was the right time for her to hang up the boots. Anxiety took her career to a point where she had to leave the game altogether. Often, people are late to recognize issues that are primarily mental. However, when they become visible, it’s grown detrimental.

 

Sarah Taylor from Women's Cricket World Cup 2017
Sarah Taylor in Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017. Pic Credits: Getty Images

 

Players are, today also, not taught about strengthening their mental condition. There are many big sides who have batting coaches, they have fielding and bowling coaches but a mental coach isn’t near. There are people alongside squad for assisting net practices however a sports psychologist is not a regular visitor on the ground. The approach has traditionally been defining mental health as something secondary. Talks with captain and coaches help. Assurances and advice assist but thorough support is what players need.

Sarah Taylor, if got the right care, would have turned out to be the best from English soil. The cabinet would have seen more trophies. It is no wrong to suggest that proper care and mental assistance could have helped players in many ways. In Sarah’s case, it was anxiety but we have heard stars like Mohammad Shami confessing mental issues. It is high time we realize that players are like us. They are demigods for the fans but outside the 20 yards, they are like us. They suffer stress, anxiety, and other complications like us.

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With expectations from billions, from yourselves, it is the time that players from around the globe realize and stress the need for mental assistance in a permanent manner. As we reflect and retrospect in these times, mental issues should top our list of concerns.

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