The English duo of Joe Root and Ben Stokes expressed their shock and sympathy for their teammate James Taylor, who was forced to retire from cricket with immediate effect after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition.
Taylor played the last of his seven Tests at Centurion during England’s victorious 2-1 series win in South Africa in January, where he played a key role. He also featured in 27 ODIs, including the 2015 World Cup. His solitary international hundred came against Australia at
Old Trafford in September 2015.
The 26-year old underwent treatment at Nottingham City Hospital earlier this week. On Thursday he tweeted a photo of himself outside the building, with the caption: “Well that has been one hell of an experience. What a beautiful day!”
Expressing his shock after getting the news Root said,”It was a huge shock.I was away when I found out, it was horrible to hear such sad news, [but] it’s great to see him back out of hospital now.”
He also said that the team never got any indication of Taylor’s ailment.
“He’s the fittest guy in the squad,” Root said. “He loved that side of his cricket. His work ethic has always been outstanding, he was very dedicated and he had a strong focus on trying to be the fittest guy in the squad. You could see that from his body shape and the work he did out on the field. I really hope he can come back from it, and find something that he enjoys doing as much as he loved playing cricket.”
Stokes, who had a devastating experience in the World T20 final when he was hit for 4 consecutive sixes, also expressed his grief over the news.
“I’ll be able to play again, unfortunately, Titch won’t,” Stokes said. “But he seems to be in decent fettle for the news that he got.
“I think he realises, and we realise, that the best thing to come out of this is that he’s still alive. Some people are less fortunate than that.”
“Obviously, it’s devastating for us because me and Joe, we’ve played with Titch since we were 14 or 15,” Stokes added. “So he’ll be a massive loss for England going forward, as he was just starting to make his name in one-day and Test cricket. But it’s a massive perspective, not just on cricket life, but life in general. It’s just good to see him walk away with his life, really.”
The players also backed Taylor to fight through this tough phase.
“For anyone to be told that news, it would be extremely hard to overcome it, but that’s one thing about Titch’s character,” Root said.
“He’s very strong and it’s admirable the way he has dealt with it.
“You can see on social media the support that he has had, not just from cricket fans but from all walks of life. That’s given him a lot of confidence. It’s pleasing to see the cricket family, if you like, looking out for him. I’m sure he really appreciates that.”