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I thought I was going to die: James Taylor

LONDON: Former England batsman James Taylor has said he feared he was about to die in the incident that led to the premature end of his cricket career.

Taylor, 26, had to quit the game just when he was on the brink of establishing himself as an England Test player after it was discovered he was suffering from a potentially fatal heart condition, (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Arrhythmia).

“Everyone thinks it was found in a routine heart check which wasn’t the case,” Taylor told the BBC, adding he had in fact collapsed in an early season match for his county side, Nottinghamshire, against a Cambridge student team.

“I had my usual morning nap, and then did the warm-up. Towards the back end of the warm-up that’s when my chest started getting tight.

“Apart from being tight it was beating at a million miles an hour. We were doing just a couple of routine catches and throws.

“My heart was going wild at a funny rhythm. It was probably only about four degrees, really cold, and I got inside. Sweat from me is hitting the ground hard. So I knew I wasn’t right.

“And that’s when I thought I was going to die.”

Although his seven Tests yielded a modest average of 26, his top score of 76 came against Pakistan in Sharjah in November last year. Taylor also made 27 one-day international appearances, averaging 42.23, with his lone century scored against Australia at Old Trafford in September.

Taylor, who thanked doctors and medical staff at Nottingham City Hospital for “saving my life”, said adjusting to a future without playing cricket had been the toughest thing of all.

“I think that’s been the hardest bit,” said Taylor. “When the doctor told me, I was in hysterics at first.

“But then he told me that the majority of these cases are only found out in the post-mortem. I almost stopped crying at that point and felt more lucky that I’m in a position to tell this story now.”

Now Taylor hopes to stay connected to cricket in a different role.

“I will desperately miss not being able to play it but I do really enjoy helping people in any way that I can, so fingers crossed I’ll be involved in some way,” he said.  (AFP)

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