This is so sad. James Taylor, one of the best young batsmen in England (in all formats), has been forced to retire at just 26 years of age. He missed Notts’ recent game against MCCU with what doctors initially thought was a virus, but tests have revealed a much more sinister problem.
Unfortunately, James is suffering from ARVC, the heart condition that forced former Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba to retire in 2012. Muamba suffered a shocking heart attack in a televised match against Spurs. Muamba’s heart stopped for a 78 minutes so he was lucky to escape with his life. That’s how serious this is. According to reports, James will have a major operation asap – presumably to stop a similar thing happening to him.
I’m no doctor, but a quick glance at the British Heart Foundation website reveals that ARVC is an inherited condition that affects muscle cells in the heart. Changes to the heart muscle means the walls of the ventricle become thin and stretched. The end result is that your heart can’t function properly. This leads to abnormal heart rhythms, breathlessness and risk of sudden death during exercise.
Although James’ operation is obviously needed, he won’t be able to resume his cricket career afterwards because ARVC cannot be ‘cured’. It’s something that will need careful ongoing management. The good news is that most people who receive treatment for the condition are able to live relatively normal lives. It’s also good news that James has been diagnosed before he suffered a very public incident like Muamba.
Obviously James’ health is by far the most important thing at the moment, but one can’t help but wonder how this will affect England’s middle-order in tests, ODIs and T20 cricket? There is now a vacancy at 5 in the test team, and I imagine Taylor would’ve played a substantial role in the limited overs sides too in the coming years. This is quite a major blow to England’s planning. Who do you think will replace him?
In the meantime, we all wish James and his family the very best. At least he seems to be thinking positively and still has a sense of humour about the challenges facing him:
Safe to say this has been the toughest week of my life! My world is upside down. But I’m here to stay and I’m battling on! #lifestooshort ??
— James Taylor (@jamestaylor20) April 12, 2016
Although James couldn’t resist a self-deprecating nod to his height, I’ve vowed to lay off the Barry Manilow gags for a while. The sad thing, of course, is that Taylor’s career ultimately proved to be the shortest thing of all. He could’ve become a real cult hero of English cricket. Just look at his stats …
James Taylor Career Stats
Tests 7 matches. 312 runs. Average 26
ODIs 27 games 887 runs. Average 42
1st Class: 139 games. 9306 runs. Average 46
List A: 136 games. 5365 runs. Average 53
T20s: 91 games. 1972 runs. Average 35
I think these figures show what a good player he is. Who knows what he could’ve become. Best of luck for the future, James. Take care. You’ll be missed.