Who will take up the Edwards-Taylor mantle for England?

The absence of Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor has left holes in the England batting line-up ahead of the ICC Women's World T20 in the Caribbean.

Sarah Taylor (left) and Charlotte Edwards had formed a formidable partnership for England, playing key roles in the five previous editions of the ICC Women's World T20.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

771 runs from 22 partnerships, one of the best wicketkeeping batsmen in the world and a prolific run-getter. That’s what the England women’s team will be missing at the T20 World Cup this year. Without Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor in the team, someone else will have to rise to the task this time and try to fill their role.

Charlotte Edwards announced her retirement from international cricket after the 2016 T20 World Cup. She had become one of the most significant figures of English cricket and remains England's highest run-scorer in both ODIs and T20s.

Sarah Taylor, who has blossomed into one of the finest wicketkeeping batsmen in the sport, has been dealing with anxiety issues. She decided to skip the T20 World Cup this year to give herself time for treatment. With 2175 runs in T20 internationals, she’s second only to Edwards. And for the first time, they won’t appear together at the biennial tournament.

An Edwards-Taylor partnership took shape 22 times on the pitch, as England won the inaugural edition and finished runner-up twice in five editions of the T20 World Cup. And unsurprisingly, they are England’s highest run-scorers in the tournament.

Read: India aims to go one better in maiden standalone Women's World T20

Out of England’s runs in the tournament, 1,309 have come from their bats. Edward’s 768 runs and Taylor’s 541 dwarfs all other contributions. The picture becomes clearer when you look at the next highest contribution (among players in the squad for this year’s tournament) — 148 runs from Tamsin Beaumont’s bat.

England dealt pretty well with Charlotte Edwards' absence during the 2017 World Cup. It cruised to the trophy as Tamsin Beaumont, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver and (obviously) Sarah Taylor did brilliantly with the bat and Anya Shrubsole worked her magic with the ball. But this time, there’s no Taylor either and T20 is a different ball game as well.

No one’s to say England will surely struggle without another Edwards-Taylor partnership. Their contribution may not point towards an over-reliance by England. But when your top order is so good, you don't have to rely on anyone else.

How will England make up for their absence? Who will take up the Edwards-Taylor mantle? These are questions England needs to answer.

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