The cricket world is in shock today over the early retirement of English batsman James Taylor due to a condition called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, or ARVC for short.
According to the British Heart Foundation website, ARVC is a rare, inherited condition that causes the walls of the heart muscle to become stretched. This inhibits blood flow, causing palpitations, light-headedness and fainting and hugely increasing the risk of sudden death on exertion.
Taylor was diagnosed with ARVC when he withdrew from a recent match with what he thought was a viral condition. He immediately announced his retirement.
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
And then showed some lovely dark-but-light British humour in seeking alternative employment with a muso mate.
Thanks a lot legend! Any spare spots going in the band? I can take the triangle on...😁 https://t.co/nfBsJNsHsM— James Taylor (@jamestaylor20) April 12, 2016
Taylor's condition is the same as that suffered by former footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the field with a heart attack while playing for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham in 2012. Muamba recovered but immediately retired.
Taylor and Muamba have never met. But the duo has been engaging in some good-natured banter in the past few hours.
Taylor played seven Tests and 27 One-Day Internationals. The 26-year-old was expected to add to that tally in coming years. He was a versatile batsman in all formats of the game who averaged an impressive 42 overall and 44 against Australia in one-dayers.
Taylor seemed to reserve his best for matches against Australia -- a team referred to as "the old enemy", but which in truth housed many of his close friends.
So sad to hear about my little mate @jamestaylor20, stay strong braz! Top player but most of all an even better bloke. X— Peter Siddle (@petersiddle403) April 12, 2016
Taylor measures just 168 cm, or five foot, six inches on the old scale. Small in size, he was one of those sportsmen who metaphorically had a huge ticker. Alas, his actual heart was a little more frail, which means cricket has lost one of its good ones today -- to the game but not the world, thankfully.