England's Claire Taylor has announced her retirement from international cricket, drawing to a close a distinguished 14-year career with her country.
She played 15 Tests, 126 One-Day Internationals and 27 Twenty20 Internationals, helping England lift the 2009 World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 in the same year, when she hit the winning runs against New Zealand in the final at Lord's.
Fittingly, she bowed out following a series success over Australia having played her part in a 34-run win over Australia at Wormsley.
During her career, she scored 4,101 ODI runs and was awarded the MBE for services to cricket in 2009. She also holds the record for the highest score in an ODI at Lord's, making 156 not out against India in 2006.
"It's the right time mentally and physically for me to step away from the international game," Taylor said.
"Fitting in all the training amid an ever busier working life is becoming unsustainable, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the week. Physically I seem to need to spend more and more time in the gym recovering from injuries rather than training to get fitter. I'm getting old I guess.
"There are so many people to thank who have helped me achieve my dreams. I remember sitting down after the 2000 Women's World Cup in New Zealand and talking about my ambition of becoming one of the best batters in the world. It has been a long process with plenty of ups and downs, culminating in outstanding personal and team success with England in 2009.
"The most important professional relationship of my career has been with Mark Lane, my coach of 14 years. Together we transformed my game so that I became the type of cricketer I always wanted to be.
"The support from the English Institute of Sport has been invaluable too and I've been able to access everything I've needed to keep me playing the game I love for so long. Without the help of their world class physiotherapy and medical services, I would not have been able to complete my rehabilitation in time to prepare for my final series with England this summer .
"I would also like to thank ECB for providing the framework which has enabled women's cricket to flourish at international level and allowed me to combine part time 'normal life' with the adventure of pulling on the three lions.
"The squad I'm leaving has huge potential over the next couple of years and I wish them well for the future. There are some exciting players pressing for places from the England Women’s Academy which points towards a bright future for England women’s cricket."
ECB Head of women's cricket Clare Connor added: "Claire Taylor’s career has yielded some remarkable and unprecedented achievements. Her incomparable hunger to always improve, hard work, focus and mental toughness have combined to make her the best batter in the women’s game. Claire has earned the respect of all who have played with her, against her, or who have had the pleasure of watching her.
"Her tour de force was her 76 not out from 53 balls against Australia at the Oval to secure England a place in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009. The power, precision and clinical nature of that innings delivered a message on the biggest stage as to the enormous progress made in the women’s game: new fans and support were won and perceptions were changed. As such, Claire should be hugely proud of the part she has played in the journey of the women’s game, and specifically England women’s cricket, during the last 14 years."
© Cricket World 2011
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