Sarah Taylor opens up about struggles with anxiety
Sarah Taylor, the England wicketkeeper, has opened up about her struggles with anxiety that have caused her to take an indefinite break from cricket
Sarah Taylor, the England wicketkeeper, has opened up about the struggles with anxiety that have caused her to take an indefinite break from cricket.
Taylor, 27, is widely considered one of the most talented women's players in the game, but has struggled for form in recent months, not least during the World T20 in India in March, when she made 49 runs at 9.80 in five matches.
Speaking to the BBC, Taylor conceded that she was undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in a bid to rid herself of a disorder that has dogged her life in recent years, and sometimes resulted in such acute panic attacks that she had to run off the field to be sick.
"For the past four years I've been suffering with anxiety, and obviously it's my health and my health is my first priority," Taylor said. "It was starting to affect my performance in cricket but taking time out is a way of trying to fix me as a person and to prolong my career.
"Like anyone, if your performance drops you have the capacity to get dropped [from the team]. I didn't want to allow it to affect my performance so much that that happens, and if I can fix myself off the field I can prolong my career.
"It happened mainly when I was about to bat, that expectation of wanting to score runs. The nerves would hit me, but it would be nerves plus something else, and I was always confused as to what it was. It was a genuine kind of panic, the heart races, you feel faint, there have been times I've had to run off into the changing room and be sick through sheer panic."
The initial news of Taylor's break came just days after Charlotte Edwards stood down from her ten-year role as England women's captain, following pressure from the head coach, Mark Robinson, for a renewed emphasis on youth and fitness in a squad that has stagnated in recent years.
More recently, another of Taylor's long-term team-mates, Lydia Greenway, announced her retirement from international cricket in the wake of the team's disappointing showing at the World T20.
They exited at the semi-final stage following defeat against Australia, and have not won a major global title since 2009. Heather Knight, Edwards' vice-captain, was last week confirmed as the team's new captain.
Taylor took a four-month break from cricket in 2010, missing an Ashes tour in the process, but returned to the sport to become the leading wicketkeeper-batsman in the world.
She cannot yet put a time-frame on her return, and looks set to miss not only England's home international summer but the inaugural Kia Super League as well. However, she says she is "99 percent" sure she will be back to resume a career that has made her an icon of the women's game.
"It's a case of talking through my struggles on my day-to-day basis, and my thought processes. I'll have little activities to tick off in my personal life, then I can look to the cricket side of things. Unfortunately my cricket has to come second.
"I would like to say that I am 99 percent sure that I will play again," she added. "I want to put an England shirt back on and train with the girls, I miss them terribly. I will do everything in my power to become healthy, but I can't say that that's going to happen. But in a positive way, I want to play cricket again and I hope to be back."