English cricket season marred by shock retirement and murder
Batsman James Taylor forced to quit with heart problem and a promising youngster is shot dead in Trinidad
The start of the English county cricket season has been marred by news of the retirement of Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor and the killing of Adrian St John, the young captain of the Chris Gayle Academy in London.
Taylor announced his retirement with immediate effect after scans showed he has arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, a similar condition to that suffered by footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a match for Bolton Wanderers in 2012.
The discovery was made after the 26-year-old pulled out of a fixture against Cambridge University last week and missed his club's season opening match against Surrey with what was believed to be a virus.
Taylor, who played seven Tests and 27 One-Day Internationals for England, will undergo an operation in the next few days.
The 5ft 6in batsman, known as "Titch", was "one of the most hard-working and fittest members of the England team and regularly scored highly in the bleep tests that monitored the fitness of the England team", reports the Daily Mail.
He played all four Tests against South Africa on the winter tour and was expected to retain his place in the side this summer.
Among the many messages of support he has received following the news was one from Muamba:
England team director Andrew Strauss said the news was "both shocking and saddening... It is immensely cruel that such a hard working player will be unable to fulfil his great potential in the international arena."
Tributes have also been paid to promising British cricketer Adrian St John, who was shot dead in a robbery in Trinidad on Sunday. The 22-year-old, who hoped to one day play for the West Indies, was captain of the Chris Gayle Academy in London, a club set up by the West Indian batsman to develop young cricketers.
"St John grew up in Kennington, just minutes from the famous Oval cricket ground in south London, and developed a passion for the sport as a young boy," reports the Daily Telegraph. He was a well-known club cricketer in the area and "big things" were expected for him.