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England fitness key for double-header – Taylor

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Sarah Taylor in action for England

Women’s T20 tri-series – England v South Africa & New Zealand
Venue: Taunton Date: Saturday, 22 June Start time: 13:00 BST (Eng v SA), 17:40 BST (Eng v NZ)
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary and in-play highlights on BBC Sport website & app

Wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor believes England’s fitness will be important in Saturday’s Twenty20 tri-series double-header at Taunton.

England face South Africa at 13:00 BST before taking on New Zealand at 17:40.

But Taylor – hailed this week by ex-Australia keeper Adam Gilchrist as the best wicketkeeper in the world – says the hard work the squad has put in over the winter can pay dividends.

“We’re fitter and stronger than we’ve ever been,” she told BBC Sport.

“It will be tough – the Kiwis are obviously strong opposition. We just have to try to look at it like a 40-over game each side.”

England opened the series on Wednesday with a 121-run win over South Africa, after posting a mammoth 250-3 at Taunton – the highest total in women’s T20 internationals.

That came just a few hours after New Zealand had broken the previous record when they made 216-3 on the same pitch in a 66-run victory over the Proteas.

Hampshire pace bowler Katie George and Yorkshire opener Lauren Winfield are added to the England squad for Saturday’s two games.

Taylor’s batting prowess was not required against South Africa but it is her glovework which led Aussie legend Gilchrist to rate her as the best keeper in the world – male or female.

“I had absolutely no idea about that!,” she laughed. “I’ve been working so hard on my keeping.

“[Former Hampshire wicketkeeper] Michael Bates has been brilliant for me in terms of everything he’s done for my keeping. I’ll take that – it’s absolutely ridiculous – but I’ll take it.

“We wanted to get off to a good start in the series and we did, but we have the World Cup in the back of our minds. This is a nice stepping stone and a good chance to see how everyone has been progressing.”

England (from): Heather Knight (Berkshire, capt), Tammy Beaumont (Kent), Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire), Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire), Georgia Elwiss (Sussex), Tash Farrant (Kent), Katie George (Hampshire), Jenny Gunn (Warwickshire), Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire), Amy Jones (Warwickshire, wk), Laura Marsh (Kent), Anya Shrubsole (Somerset), Nat Sciver (Surrey), Sarah Taylor (Sussex, wk), Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire), Danni Wyatt (Sussex).

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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