James Taylor has a literal heart problem

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If James Taylor’s public pronouncements betray an admirable desire to retain a sense of humour about things, his retirement from cricket at the age of just 26 due to arrhythmogenic right ventricular arrhythmia is anything but funny.

It’s easy to point to his having had a job as a professional cricketer as a means of highlighting how others may have it tougher, but at heart we’re all selfish bastards. We only truly know the life we lead and Taylor’s life has just turned down a very unexpected dead end.

You make plans, you work towards things and that’s what keeps you sane. It’s not the goals themselves that matter, but finding purpose in striving for them. With his destination obliterated, a man could quite easily find himself derailed. Throw in a serious heart condition and pessimism could become a default emotion.

A high-achieving cricketer’s sense of self is greatly bound up with the game. You are a cricketer. You are a batsman. You score runs. It’s not just what you do, it’s who you are. James Taylor is no longer that and when your occupation has been so all-consuming, how much room was there for anything else? It may be just a game, but a game can be everything and people feel the impact when everything is snatched from them in an instant.

Taylor will eventually be able to redirect his energy and pursue different things, coaxing his mind back to normal in the process – we’re sure of that. As for the heart condition, he is set to undergo an operation. His retirement from the game makes it clear that this will not be a cure in the fullest sense, but it will, presumably, improve his physical health.

James Taylor retires from cricket with the fourth-highest one-day batting average of all time. Decent player and, by all accounts, a decent bloke. The latter is something he can continue to be, no matter what he does next.


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  1. Beautiful words to describe such bad news. Was that a heightist pun at his own expense during probably his darkest hour? What an absolute legend if it was.

    1. Pretty sure it was. We can safely say that he’s more attuned to heightist humour than most.

  2. Extremely well writ, KC.

    For those King Cricket readers who do read comments but don’t Google nasty diseases, James Taylor’s heart condition is absolutely life threatening, often long-term manageable but (as extreme physical exertion is one of the biggest risk factors) absolutely career-ending for an elite sportsman.

    James Taylor’s positive public demeanour at this incredibly difficult time for him is extraordinary and a great credit to the man.

    Of course, the fact that his diagnosis has led to his sudden retirement is a far better outcome than the alternative; an absence of diagnosis and his likely sudden death.

    Let’s hope that James Taylor can find a terrific life for himself beyond playing elite cricket; if he can remain involved with cricket in some way, I’m sure that his involvement in any way possible for him would be a good thing for the game.

    Respect and very warmest wishes to James Taylor.

  3. Darren Sammy told him to “keep batting on”.

    Well-meaning, I’m sure, but that’s the opposite of what he needs to do.

  4. Sad to see his career cut short.


    Still haven’t forgiven him for leaving Leics, but I’m just glad they discovered this in time. Hope he does okay.

  5. Meanwhile, all them batting cricket runs for the Duke of Bellington at Southampton.

    Is it too soon to speculate on whether Titch’s absence might pave the way to a return for the Sledgehammer of Eternal Justice?

      1. I’ve been feeling conflicted today.

        I think the answer is to recall Will Jefferson in place of Alex Hales.

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