I just needed to get inside the pavilion and get my head down again. I curled up at the bottom of the stairs to the lunch room. As I lay there, I must have made for a piteous sight. Just a few weeks earlier I’d been scoring runs and taking miracle catches for England in South Africa. Now I was a hunched, grey, hollow figure on the verge of death.
My mum had never negotiated the corridors of the pavilion but somehow found me in a ball at the foot of those stairs. She was shocked to see how ill I was and, like any mum, her first instinct was to look after me. She took me home, just half a mile up the road, and I staggered through the door before lying down on the settee.
First priority was to get my heart out of its abnormal rhythm. “There are two options,” they told me. “We pump you full of drugs and hopefully that works, and if it doesn’t, we put you to sleep and shock you out of it.”