Sarah Taylor, one of the finest wicket-keeper and a two-time World Cup winner for England, announced her retirement from international cricket in September 2019, at an age of just 30.
Her decision came on the back of a long battle with anxiety, for which she had taken a break from cricket in 2016 as well, and had suffered panic attacks due to the same.
Sarah Taylor, who will now return to professional cricket via The Hundred after signing with Welsh Fire, opens up about her struggles with anxiety, the feeling of loneliness dragging her away even from her teammates.
“I felt utterly lonely the last three years of my career. It probably began with all of that success a few years before because I then felt different again. I felt a little bit further away from my mates than I should have and I believe that was probably my own doing,” Sarah Taylor said on a podcast with Headstrong.
I tried to avoid cricket at times: Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor retired with over 6000 international runs, and is a 3-time Ashes winner, and won the 2009 and 2017 World Cup for her country. At the time of her retirement, nobody in the women’s game had effected more dismissals in all formats than her tally of 232.
The 31-year-old recently became the first woman to work as a skills coach at a men’s county team when she was appointed as a wicketkeeping coach with Sussex.
Sarah Taylor said that while cricket wasn’t the reason for her anxiety, it was the illness that took her away from the game, and almost everyone involved in her life.
“In my last three years I was incredibly lonely. [I would] go to training, come back to my room, stay there all night, room service. Again, [I] avoided friendships, avoided people, avoided media, avoided expectation, tried to avoid cricket at times, avoided training.
“I say three years, it was probably four or five; I did take a break, didn’t I? I was incredibly lonely. Cricket can sometimes, unfortunately, lend itself to that. It’s quite apparent in the modern game given how long we are away.
“We don’t see our families. We’re obviously not away as long as the men are but we don’t see our families within that unless they make the decision to come on over,” Taylor concluded.