The career of one of the fastest runners between the wickets is now run, at the mere age of 26.
The former England Lion, England stand-in captain and Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor was today forced to retire due to a serious heart condition.
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a rare, inherited disease.
Proteins in the cells of the heart muscle don’t develop properly, so can’t keep the heart muscle cells together. This allows the muscle cells to detach, making the walls of the ventricle become thin and stretched. All of this means the heart pumping action weakens, so blood isn’t pumped around your body as it should be.
To make matters even worse, this is a progressive condition – James Taylor’s health will further deteriorate with time.
A man who marked his first-class debut with a golden duck has defied his height and come on leaps and bounds since his first England appearance in 2012. Kevin Pietersen’s scathing criticism of the five foot six man after batting with him on his debut, only acted to spur him on to prove all the doubters wrong.
He has proved to be one of the unluckiest cricketers even before this week’s announcement of his heart condition.
A near two-year hiatus from the full England set up between 2012 and 2014 was rather harsh when we went back and churned out runs for the Lions and Nottinghamshire in all forms of the game.
He came back into the England side in the build up to the 50 over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, doing enough to cement his place at number six for England’s first game of the tournament against the hosts in Melbourne.
With England capitulating to 66-4, ‘Titch’ dug in for pretty much a lone furrow, a 92-run partnership with Chris Woakes the only partnership of substance. In a bizarre finish to the game, last man James Anderson was run out, attempting a leg bye, but Taylor had already been given out lbw at this point, so it should have been a dead ball.
A successful England review only saved Taylor’s average, leaving him the last man standing with a defiant 98* to his name.
He did later score his deserved ODI hundred against the same opposition in England last summer, but it was his obdurate, determined attitude that shone out of England’s World Cup defeat that will serve as his most memorable innings.
Decent performances in England’s Test matches in South Africa this winter showed he’s not just a one-day batsman and also how brilliant a specialist short-leg fielder he is.
We all hope he’ll stay in cricket with at least some punditry or commentary work, but whether he does or not, it’s safe to say, England, Nottinghamshire and the world of cricket will miss him greatly.