Nicola Browne, the New Zealand bowler, has decided to return to international cricket despite announcing her retirement seven months ago. She discovered she was suffering with celiac disease, changed her diet and is now hungry to play for New Zealand once more.
Browne, 28 from Waikato, felt "the flame inside her had been extinguished" when retiring in August 2011. The news came as something of a shock after rising to sixth on the world bowling rankings and being named Player of the Tournament at the 2010 Women's World Twenty20.
"I wasn't tracking where I should have been," Browne said. "I was plagued with health problems and just couldn't get my energy levels right." She thought her health problems stemmed from Temporomandibular joint disorder and reached a low point after the Christchurch earthquake of February 2011, prompting her departure from the game.
But a joint disorder proved not to be the problem. Browne changed doctors and was found to be suffering with celiac disease - where gluten in the body damaged the lining of the small intestine causing fatigue.
A simple change of diet did the trick. "I had more energy that I could ever remember having," Browne said. "It was like I had been living my life at only 70%." Pasta and pizza went off the menu as part of her new gluten-free regime that provided new-found energy and a reignited passion for cricket.
Browne returned to action with seven wickets at 16.85 for Northern Districts and now has her sights on an international recall and becoming a professional. "I've found myself," she said. "And I've found the energy to go and achieve beyond where I reached before, and bring others along for the journey."