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Women of Distinction

All dreams can come true, just ask Stafanie Taylor

Published:Sunday | April 4, 2021 | 8:48 PMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor

Many young girls growing up in Jamaica gets drawn into singing, dancing and acting from a tender age. When it comes to sports, many are automatically drawn to disciplines such as netball or track and field, but for the very few, there is cricket.

Cricket was Stafanie Taylor’s first love and she has gone on to distinguish herself as not only being one of the best on the island, but one of the best in the world.

Her passion for the sport began at a tender age, where she was always involved with the young boys playing on the streets of Spanish Town, St Catherine.

For many young boys and girls, cricket is just another past time, something to occupy the young mind and body, but for Taylor, it was more.

It was no surprise that she made her school team at Eltham High School, playing with the boys and holding her own in the various Inter-Secondary Schools competitions.

Her progression to Jamaica’s women’s team was inevitable. It didn’t take long before she established herself as more than useful with bat and ball, adding good off-break bowling to very good batting technique and temperament.

Taylor broke into the West Indies team in 2008, aged 17, and immediately established herself as a vital member. Right away she proved she belonged, scoring her highest Twenty20 total on debut, hitting 90 runs from 49 balls to help her side to a massive victory over Ireland.

As a batting all-rounder, Taylor became the youngest to score 1000 ODI runs in women's cricket. At the 2013 Cricket World Cup, she achieved the third-highest total in women's ODIs, when she made 171 runs against Sri Lanka. She is currently ranked fourth in the world as an ODI batter and is second on the list of the best all-rounder's in the game. Those rankings are as a result of scoring more than 4000 runs in the limited-overs format to go with her 130 wickets. She is also in the top 10 T20 players in the game, having scored 2582 runs and taken 68 wickets in the format.

Perhaps the best year in Taylor’s illustrious career was 2016. In the T20 World Cup of that year, she made the highest scores and led the Women’s West Indies team to cricket glory in the final match against World Champions, Australia.

It was only a year before that match that Taylor, deservedly, became the captain of the women’s team. She was also named player of the tournament.

She has won several titles, including Cricketer of the Year (2010) from the Jamaica Cricket Association, the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World T20 Women’s Cricket of the Year (2015), and the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012.

The Government of Jamaica bestowed the Order of Distinction on Taylor in 2017. In that year, ground was broken for the construction of the Stafanie Taylor Oval at her alma mater, Eltham High School.

In February of this year, the inspirational leader of the West Indies Women’s team was named on both the ICC’s Women’s ODI and T20I teams of the decade.

That achievement was certainly a pleasing one for the girl who defied the odds to make it on the biggest stage the sport has to offer.

“I was elated to be selected on both the ODI and T20I teams. To know that I’m regarded among the best in the world. It’s a really good feeling to know that all the work over the last decade has paid off and is recognised,” Taylor had said.