Fond Memories Of
Trent Bridge Spur On Taylor
Comment and Analysis | 4th January 2012
James Taylor had already taken Trent Bridge into his affections long before he delighted Notts by signing a three-year deal for them to make it his new home ground.
The 21-year-old batsman remembers playing for Shrewsbury School at the historic venue in the 2005 U15 Lord's Taverners National Schools Final – and well he might!
Playing against Harrow, the talented teenager underlined his potential as a future star by registering an unbeaten 118 to lead his side to victory.
Chasing 223 for victory and needing 92 from the final ten overs, he led his team home by hitting a six from the penultimate ball.
Taylor has only played at Trent Bridge five times in senior cricket since then, all for Leicestershire against Notts.
But on the four occasions he has been at the crease, he has fared reasonably successfully, with scores of 44 not out, 28 not out, eight and 58.
It's little wonder, then, that one of the most promising young players in the English game believes he can flourish in his new surroundings.
"I have fond memories of playing here. It's a great set-up and I can't wait to get involved," said Taylor.
"I have enjoyed playing at Trent Bridge in one-day cricket over the past two or three years and I have always liked it as a venue.
"I played in a national schools under-15s cup final for Shrewsbury School at the ground and scored an unbeaten century, so it's a place I enjoy.
"Eventually the ambition is to play international cricket and it would be amazing to play at what is now my home ground.
"It has a reputation of moving around quite a lot here, but I'm up for the challenge.
"It's an opportunity to come and play first division cricket and to show I can do it against the best bowlers in the country.
"I have shown when I have stepped up to play for the Lions I can still perform. For me, the more pace on the ball, the better I like it."
Lancashire were interested in luring Taylor from Leicestershire, but the decision for the player eventually boiled down to a toss-up between Notts and Warwickshire.
Living in Melton Mowbray, the two clubs offered him top-flight cricket and a team who can challenge for major honours – without the need to move.
Taylor was eventually swayed by the green and golds, even though the Bears finished the 2011 County Championship season in a higher position.
He said: "There is a great squad at Notts, as well as coaches and facilities, and we back ourselves to be up there challenging.
"I worked with Mick Newell (Notts' director of cricket) for a couple of months on the Lions tour to the West Indies.
"He's a great coach and man-manager. I get on very well with him and me signing here did have a bit to do with that.
"It basically came down to a choice between Notts and Warwickshire, but it was an obvious choice for me in the end.
"I'm living at home for the moment, but I'm hardly there, especially in the winter because of being away on tour.
"I'll definitely be looking to get a place in Nottingham in the long-run, but it's only 35 to 40 minutes to get in and that's only about five minutes longer than it took me to get to Grace Road."
Taylor believes he will thrive in the atmosphere of a Notts dressing room who are keen to build a winning mentality.
And he is pleased to be joining a group that includes established and wannabe England internationals such as Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Samit Patel and Alex Hales.
"It's great to have healthy competition for places and plenty of players vying to get into the international team," said Taylor.
"There are a lot of ambitious young players at the club who want to go on and play at a higher level.
"I've not had that much chance to get to know the players so far having been away (on a training camp to India), but I know a lot of the guys having either played with or against them."
Taylor will be leaving the country again early in the new year to captain England Lions on the tour of Bangladesh.
He said: "I've never gone searching for a captaincy role, but when I got offered it, it was a great honour.
"To captain your country at any level is a big deal and I am really proud.
"It is an added responsibility and puts you under pressure, but I believe I can do a decent job."
Accompanying him on the trip will be fellow Notts player Alex Hales, someone he has already got to know well from previous Lions service.
"Alex Hales is a good guy and I'm sure he is going to do well out there," said Taylor.
"We are both looking forward to the challenge of batting in those conditions and it will be a tough test against a Bangladesh side who are usually strong in their own back yard.
"I can definitely see Alex and myself in the same England team in the future. We are both ambitious and looking to do that if possible.
"I don't see him as a rival for a place, though, because we both bat in different slots."
Notts begin their 2012 County Championship campaign on Thursday April 5 and that will soon come round once Taylor returns home in February.
He said: "My main focus now is to concentrate on playing for Notts and doing well for them.
"There is a danger you can get distracted by looking too far ahead internationally.
"I think I am going to be batting at four in both forms of the game. I have always batted at four or five when I have played for Leicestershire.
"1,000 runs is the benchmark for any batsman and I'll be looking for that, but I haven't set myself many other goals as yet.
"I will have them by the start of the season, but first I'm just concentrating on the Bangladesh tour. Once I return, the full focus will be on Notts."
Like everyone else connected with the club, Taylor is excited about the prospect of Ashes cricket coming to the city in 2013 and 2015.
He is hoping that, by then, he is in the frame to play in one, if not both of them.
"You always look forward and always have ambition for the future and to play at Trent Bridge in the Ashes is definitely one," said Taylor.
"But you have to get into international cricket first, which is not easy with England at the moment.
"English cricket is very strong and it is going to be very hard to get into the side, especially at Test level.
"The only thing I can do is impress with weight of runs in the county game and be as consistent as I can."
It's an enticing prospect that Notts members are already eagerly anticipating.
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