MCC Head Coach Mark Alleyne has backed Sarah Taylor to excel should she play men's county cricket next summer and insisted the idea should be taken seriously.
Sarah is a quality cricketer
The Guardian reported that Taylor, 23, is in talks with Sussex - through MCC Women's Young Cricketers and England Women's coach Mark Lane - to play some matches in their 2nd XI side this summer. Alleyne has also been involved in discussions aimed at blooding wicket-keeper/batter Taylor with MCC's men's Young Cricketers in some early season fixtures.
While Taylor admitted that there would be a lot of pressure on her shoulders should she compete alongside the men, Alleyne was effusive in his assessment of her qualities.
"Sarah is a quality cricketer - right on top her game at the moment - so the timing might just work well for her," said Alleyne, whose men's YCs team play in the Second XI Championship - the competition Taylor could be a part of this summer.
Taylor has become the poster girl of England's successful women's team, who fly out to India to defend their ICC World Cup this week. She is currently ranked number one in the ICC's T20 player rankings as well as number three in the ODI rankings and is widely regarded as the finest wicket-keeper in the women's game.
And Alleyne was keen to stress that offering Taylor an opportunity to play with the men would be due entirely to her abilities as a cricketer and the desire of her coaches to see her pushed to the next level.
"I'm excited at the prospect," he added.
"The MCC YCs are constantly looking at ways to challenge its cricketers and the opportunity may arise for Sarah to compete in a 2nd XI game. We have previously talked about this and it is in keeping with the YC mantra which is to introduce new conditions and challenges to give the players a well rounded cricketing experience."
Despite making her debut for England at the age of just 16 in 2006 and playing a key role in England's 2009 ICC World T20 and World Cup winning double, Taylor's career was at a crossroads in 2010 when she decided not to travel to Australia with England that winter to defend the Ashes; something her teammates failed to do.
MCC's Women Young Cricketers scheme - whose partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board began in 2012 - took Taylor on as a professional in 2011 however, allowing her to resume an already stellar international career that summer.
She has gone from strength to strength since then, coinciding with a rise in the profile of women's cricket which has seen the likes of herself and England captain Charlotte Edwards attracting increasing column inches. Success in the men's game would take Taylor's profile to an unprecedented level.