Sarah Taylor makes history after being appointed Team Abu Dhabi assistant coach

Former England player becomes first female coach in men’s professional franchise cricket

Former England international Sarah Taylor has made history by becoming the first female coach in men’s professional franchise cricket after she joined Team Abu Dhabi for the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10.

Taylor, who is widely regarded as one of the best female wicketkeepers in history, was already the first female specialist coach at a men’s county side with Sussex. She builds on that by treading new ground with her appointment as Team Abu Dhabi's assistant coach, and hopes her involvement with the Abu Dhabi T10 will inspire women and girls 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, 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?’,” said Taylor.

“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 route, 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 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 for Team Abu Dhabi, who have also secured the services of former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener.

Klusener is currently head coach of the Afghanistan team playing at the Men’s T20 World Cup and his presence adds yet more world-class experience to the coaching team.

As well as continuing to work with Sussex, Taylor also coaches at Bede's School in the same county and this summer came out of retirement to feature in The Hundred and the Women's Twenty20 Cup in the UK.

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 picking the brains of Farbrace and Klusener.

“It came completely out of the blue and it was an amazing surprise,” she said of reading a WhatsApp from Team Abu Dhabi general manager Shane Anderson asking if she would be interested in the post. “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 down. They know that as well, and will teach me so much as I’m at the start of my coaching career.”

Anderson added: “Sarah brings a wealth of international experience and knowledge to the group and her appointment supports our desire to create a team culture of growth and inclusion, which ultimately sets a strong platform for success.”

The Abu Dhabi T10's fifth edition takes place at the UAE's world-renowned Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 19 to December 4.

As well as announcing their coaching structure, Team Abu Dhabi also signed England international Liam Livingstone as their Icon Player, while West Indies legend Chris Gayle was retained.

Team Abu Dhabi squad in full: 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

Updated: October 29th 2021, 9:47 AM