Thursday, 5 May 2016, 11:59am
James Taylor determined to continue to prove doubters wrong
The former Nottinghamshire and England batsman's playing days were brought to an abrupt end last month at the age of 26 due to a previously undetected heart condition, known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (AVRC).
The diagnosis was particularly untimely as Taylor had just started to establish himself at international level, registering his maiden England century in a one-dayer against Australia last summer before playing all four Tests in South Africa over the winter.
His first foray into international cricket was marred by questions over his height in 2012 while the 5ft 6in dynamic batsman revealed recent tests have shown he had been suffering with glandular fever for the last two years.
While still coming to terms with recent events, the naturally upbeat Taylor was able to reflect with pride on a career in which he played seven Tests and 27 one-day internationals, captaining his country once in the rained off 50-over match against Ireland last year.
Taylor, whose List A average of 53.11 is the fourth highest of all time, said: "It's safe to say I didn't play as much as I wanted to. But I feel I constantly, throughout my career, proved a lot of people wrong and hopefully I'll continue to prove a lot of doctors wrong over the next few years.
"This could have happened when I was 20 and I would have never played for England, I wouldn't have captained England, I wouldn't have scored hundreds for England.
"It was just typical me being bashed and bashed and bashed with the whole England career. As I've started to come good, and I was going to come good especially this summer, I just thought 'this is typical'. It summed up my international career.
"But as I've done in the past, and to get back to where I am or get back to the position of being an England regular, I battled to get to that position and I'll continue to keep doing that."
Ruefully, Taylor believes he was at the peak of physical and mental fitness and was looking to lay down a marker for both club and country this year.
"I reckon mentally and technically, I was definitely in the best position I've ever been in coming into a pre-season," he said.
"From my pictures on Instagram I was in the best nick I've ever been in physically."
However, he added: "I've been playing international cricket for two years with glandular fever.
"I've always battled through being ill, I've never missed a day of cricket through being ill and over the last couple of years, I've had plenty of things going on illness wise but never enough to stop my body playing."
Taylor spent 16 days in hospital after first taking ill on the second day of Nottinghamshire's pre-season warm-up game against Cambridge University at Fenner's.
After being given oxygen in the changing rooms, he was driven home although the problems persisted which meant - at the urging of his girlfriend - Taylor went to Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, where it was discovered his heartrate had soared to 265 beats per minute.
"I'll never forget that sound of four beats per second," he said. "The guy looked at the monitor then looked away and couldn't believe what he was seeing on the monitor."
However, the fact Taylor had even managed to walk into hospital of his own accord marvelled the medics.
"They said they couldn't believe that I walked in, they said it was a miracle," Taylor added. "They kept asking me and then they asked my missus and obviously I did.
"They said (his heart-rate) was the equivalent of doing six marathons in five to six hours. They just kept saying 'it's a good job you're fit'."
Taylor, who was speaking to the media on day two of the Specsavers County Championship match between his former club Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire at Trent Bridge, said he was conscious throughout the entire episode as his heartrate was then steadied by an injection.
It became apparent a couple of days later that he would never play cricket again although his histrionics were tempered by a startling revelation.
"I stopped crying a little bit when the doctor said 'if it's any consolation most of the time it's found in post-mortems'. So you realise 'ohh, I'm alright to be here at the minute'," he said.
Taylor is due to undergo an operation to have a defibrillator surgically fitted inside of him and will contemplate his future thereafter.
"I was not normal before I walked in that hospital and I'm certainly not normal now," he said.
"I'm coming to terms with what's happened but I'm going to have to get used to my new body effectively when I do have this operation, and how I'm going to react and to what extent I can push myself because I've always been one that's pushed the boundaries and I'll just have to taper that back a bit and see what I can do."
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Emergency medical staff were amazed James Taylor was able to walk into hospital