Abu Dhabi: Former England wicket-keeper batter Sarah Taylor has become the first woman coach in men’s professional franchise cricket after she was named assistant coach of Team Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi T10 league beginning 19 November.

Widely regarded as one of the best ever wicket-keepers, Taylor became the first woman specialist coach at a men’s county side with Sussex in the United Kingdom.

She now builds on that by again treading a new path with Team Abu Dhabi, and Taylor hopes that her involvement with the T10 league will inspire women all over the world.

Coming into this franchise world, you get players and coaches coming in from all around the world where it may not necessarily be the norm,” said Taylor.

“But I’d love to think that some young girl or some woman watching can see me in the coaching team and realise that’s an opportunity and they can push for it, saying If she can do it, why can’t I?”

After making her debut in 2006, the 32-year-old Taylor played in 10 Tests, 126 ODIs and 90 T20Is before announcing her international retirement in 2019. She returned to professional cricket this summer to feature in The Hundred and the 2021 Women’s Twenty20 Cup in the UK.

She is hoping that other women follow his path and emulate her.

“I do hope that it becomes a little more normal and I may be the first but I won’t be the last. Coaching is my passion and it’s kind of going down the men’s routem, which is really exciting.”

“I’ve never had issues in male environments and I enjoy the challenge. You always want to prove that you’re good enough, but that’s the same for any coach going into a new environment.”

Taylor, who won two ICC Women’s World Cups, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and represented England 226 times over the course of a stellar playing career, will serve as assistant to head coach Paul Farbrace.

Team Abu Dhabi have secured the services of former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener, who is currently head coach of the Afghanistan team playing at the T20 World Cup.

As well as continuing to work with Sussex, Taylor also coaches at Bede’s School in the same county.

While she remains open to more playing opportunities, Taylor turned down a playing gig this winter in order to work with Team Abu Dhabi and she is looking forward to being able to pick the brains of the likes of Farbrace and Klusener.

“It came completely out of the blue and it was an amazing surprise. I’ve been counting down the days until I can get to Abu Dhabi and get going.”

“I cannot wait. As soon as I found out who the staff was, that made it even more exciting and it was a lightbulb moment that I would be stupid to miss out on the opportunity. I’ve got so much to learn, they’ve probably got so much to tell me and I’m very much going to be a sponge. I’ll have to be.”

“I’m going to sit there with a notebook and write as much as I can. They know that as well, and will teach me so much as I’m at the start of my coaching career,” she added.

Team Abu Dhabi also announced the signing of England international Liam Lawrence as their Icon Player, while West Indies legend Chris Gayle was retained.

Team Abu Dhabi Squad: Chris Benjamin, Danny Briggs, Ahmed Daniyal, Fidel Edwards, Muhammad Farazuddin, Chris Gayle, Colin Ingram, Marchant de Lange, Liam Livingstone, Obed Mccoy, Rohan Mustafa, Naveen-ul-Haq, Phil Salt, Paul Stirling.

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