KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
© Copyright 2013
Despite losing the Ashes Down Under this winter Claire Taylor believes the England Women's side is on the right path ahead of another competitive summer.
Taylor suffered a shoulder injury which prevented her from playing any of the international fixtures in Australia.
However the batsman, who became the first woman to be named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2009, expects to have recovered for England's next international in June.
The 35-year-old admitted her England teammates will have been disappointed to surrender the Urn she helped win back in 2005 after more than 40 years.
The tour to Australia wasn't all disappointment though. England recorded a thumping 4-1 Twenty20 series victory and Taylor is confident the current batch of England players are moving in the right direction.
"They’ll be disappointed with the performance in the Test match - we didn’t get enough runs on the board." said Taylor, who has played 160 internationals for England.
"In a Test series that is decided by only one game you have a bad session - we lost three wickets in three balls - and it makes it very hard to get back into what is in effect the series.
"I also think the side would have been stronger with a few more players available - the likes of myself, Sarah Taylor and Beth Morgan.
"The Twenty20s were very promising though. We’d worked hard over the winter to look to play a much braver form of the game - to hit more boundaries and be more athletic in the field.
"It looked like that came off four times out of five and we won the series 4-1 so I think that’s a great result.
"I think the side is going in the right direction. We’re definitely still one of the top sides."
World Twenty20 and One Day International champions England take on India, New Zealand and Australia in a quadrangular T20 tournament which starts in June.
They later face arch rivals Australia in an ODI at the Home of Cricket on Tuesday 5 July.
Taylor holds the record for the highest ODI score at Lord’s after she took India apart with a blistering 156 in 2006 passing the previous record, Sir Viv Richards’ 139.
"It’s always great to play at Lord’s." she added.
"It’s is a great place to play because of the history of the place, because it has lots of good memories - we won the Twenty20 here and because I’ve batted well here in the past.
"It’s just a special place and though sometimes that’s bad because it puts extra pressure on you to perform well, other times it heightens that whole sort of sensation."
Taylor has represented MCC on the field and spoken of her pride at representing the Club.
She also applauds the efforts of the MCC Young Cricketers scheme which will incorporate seven full-time women cricketers in 2011 - including five full internationals:
"I think the MCC Young Cricketers, particularly on the women's side of things, has got a very strong group of players this year.
"There are a number of the younger international players on the scheme and it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to get a lot of cricket and training in and become quite professional in their outlook and understanding of the game.
"At the age they are, it’s a real big opportunity for them to accelerate their cricket in a way that the guys get when they move into the county academies and play county second XI cricket.
"There really isn’t that process in the women's game."
Among the more high profile YCs is Taylor’s namesake and prolific international teammate Sarah:
"I think Sarah can gain on several fronts.
"First of all she gets the chance to play a lot of cricket in a structured environment.
"She’s still very young and has been playing since she was 17 so now she’ll have the chance to just play a lot of cricket this summer which is really brilliant.
"Another thing that she’ll gain from is that she’ll be one of the oldest players in that group of YCs and a lot of players will be looking up to her so she’s going to have to manage that.
"I think it will be really good for her."