Taylor returns to England fold

Superstar wicketkeeper targeting international return in time for World Cup

England could have one huge inclusion when they do battle for the Women’s World Cup on home turf this year, with star wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor joining the national team at a training camp in the United Arab Emirates.

Taylor took an indefinite break from the game last year as she battled anxiety problems and has not played a formal match since last year’s World T20 semi-final defeat to Australia.

But the 27-year-old was awarded an England contract in December last year and has resumed training with the national squad.

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She was initially left out of the squad for the training camp – with coach Mark Robinson explaining her return to cricket was a “graduated one” one – but the ECB announced on Monday that she had travelled to the UAE with the group.

Taylor, who has played 190 games for England across all formats, was ranked in the top 10 batters in both ODIs and T20s when she walked away from the game.

With 3261 one-day runs and five ODI centuries under her belt, her inclusion could be a major boost for England as they look to win their fourth World Cup this June and July, before travelling to Australia later this year for the Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes.

"Sarah Taylor is going really well at the moment and is back in training,” coach Mark Robinson said on Monday.

"Her return is a graduated one which is being regularly reviewed as she hopefully works herself back to full fitness. Her goal is still to give herself the best chance of being able to play in the World Cup."

Taylor, who played for Adelaide Strikers in the inaugural season of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League and was the first woman to play first-grade men's cricket in Australia the same summer, had signalled her intentions late last year of being fit and in form for the World Cup.

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Last month, skipper Heather Knight said England were prepared to be patient to give Taylor time to return to her best.

"We'd love to have Sarah back," Knight told Sky Sports.

"She is going well. She has integrated back into training and is doing a lot more but like a lot of things it is taking time.

"We know what sort of world-class player she is and what a massive influence she can be on our team but the most important thing is she gets in the right place for her.

"It's been tough for her but we're massively supporting her and I look forward to the day hopefully when I'm watching her bat again because I absolutely love watching her bat."

England will play two intra-squad games and three matches against Ireland while in the UAE.

The World Cup kicks off on June 24, when England meet India in Derby.

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