England have been dealt a blow ahead of their crucial showdown with Pakistan next month, with star wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Taylor announcing she will take an indefinite break from cricket.
An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson confirmed Taylor was 'taking a break from cricket at the moment having decided to take some personal time away from the game’.
Taylor, 26, is now England’s top-ranked batter in both ODIs and Twenty20s following the retirement of veteran skipper Charlotte Edwards last week.
England are due to play Pakistan in three ODIs and three T20s from June 20.
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Currently sitting sixth on the Women’s One-Day Championship ladder, England will be desperate to win all three matches against their subcontinent rivals and move up the table, with the top four teams at the end of the year to gain automatic qualification to next year’s Women’s World Cup.
However the ECB are hopeful Taylor could still feature for her country next month, saying they would monitor the situation and "support her, keep in touch and talk with her prior to selection for the Pakistan series and the start of the Super League".
Taylor has been a key part of the England set-up since making her international debut in 2006 and is her county’s third highest one-day international run-scorer and second only to Charlotte Edwards in T20 games.
While she had a lean Women’s World Twenty20 in India earlier this year, scoring 49 runs at 9.8, her record would make her a strong candidate to succeed Edwards as captain, alongside current vice-captain Heather Knight.
Taylor, who also took a four-month sabbatical from cricket in 2010, has signed on to captain the Lancashire Thunder in the inaugural England Women’s Super League in July, while she represented both South Australia and the Adelaide Strikers in Australia last summer.
She was the leading run scorer for both South Australia and the Strikers, named in the Women’s National Cricket League team of the tournament.