The Northern Diamonds youngsters could not have a better role model to learn from than Jenny Gunn – both on and off the field – says her former England team-mate Sarah Taylor.
Gunn is one of the Diamonds’ five full-time professionals for 2021.
An all-rounder who turns 35 next weekend, Gunn’s list of career achievements makes for highly impressive reading.
Ashes series victories, World Cup title wins, she has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt.
Gunn was in the England team which beat India in the 2017 one-day World Cup final win at Lord’s, bowling seven miserly overs in defence of a 229 target.
Taylor, a superstar of English cricket, was behind the stumps that day and knows all to well what the Nottingham-born player gives to a side.
“Jenny’s the perfect person to have around that set-up given the wealth of knowledge she has.
“She’s played in World Cups, won them, she coaches, and she’s had experience of life as a full-time contracted professional with England.
“One of her very best qualities is her calmness.
“She can lower the expectations of the youngsters in that squad and just allow them to enjoy their cricket.
“She’s a team player and a leader.”
Gunn called time on a 15-year England career in October 2019 and was all set to focus her career solely on coaching.
But she was coaxed back into playing by Diamonds coach Dani Hazell ahead of last summer’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and has opted to continue playing into 2021.
She describes herself as the “worst retiree”.
“There’s nothing wrong with that!” laughs Taylor, who herself retired in late 2019 but has since announced a comeback for this summer’s Hundred with Welsh Fire.
“She’s still very fit and will keep performing because she keeps things really simple. That’s another one of her unbelievable qualities.
“Even if she said absolutely nothing to those youngsters, they will still learn so much from just watching her.
“It’s a no brainer to have her around that Diamonds squad full-time.”
While Gunn has coaching commitments at Trent College in Nottingham, Taylor is similar. She is coaching at Bede’s School in Sussex alongside part-time working as Sussex’s wicketkeeping coach.