Sunday, June 13, 2021
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On-field death in Gentleman’s game

Injuries on the cricket field may not be uncommon, but when cricketers suffer knocks and blows, especially those that are freak and career-threatening, it sends a chill down the spine. Besides, they make headlines. Certainly, the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes will raise the debate on an age safety measures which are followed in the Gentleman’s game. Young Hughes severe injury and death ‘shocked’ the cricketing world. He was just 25 years old.

Hughes’ death remind me about Indian cricketer Raman Lamba, who died in Bangladesh while fielding in the ground in 1998. During that time, I was also a cricket player and was concerned about the happenings in the Cricket world. Raman Lamba succumbing to blow on the head was first of its kind incident when any international Cricket player died.

Former opener Raman Lamba died after being struck by the ball on the head while fielding at silly mid-on in a Bangladesh premier cricket league match between Abahani and Mohammedans in February 1998.

The 38-year-old Delhi batsman underwent brain surgery to remove a blood clot at a hospital in Dhaka after being hit. He was declared brain dead three days after the surgery and the life support was withdrawn following his family’s approval. Hughes is the second international players who died on the field after 16 years.

There are many first class cricket players who died recently in the field playing for their state, county or club.

Abdul Aziz, a Pakistani cricketer was struck on his chest when he was attempting to hit a ball. He collapsed on the field and died on his way to the hospital. He was just 17 at that time.

Darryn Randall, a South African first-class cricketer, died in 2013 after being hit on the head by a ball during a match. Randall, a right-handed batsman, was 33 at the time of his death.

Ian Folley, a England born died after being hit underneath the eye, following which he had a heart attack and could not recover. He was 32 and was playing for Whitehaven at that time.

Zulfiqar Bhatti was a promising Pakistani cricketer died after he was hit on the chest by a ball, which caused his death on the pitch itself. Bhatti, 22, was representing Super Star Cricket Club in a match against Sindh Young Cricket Club, both local teams of Pakistan.

George Summers, an English cricketer, his is the earliest case of an on-field injury resulting in death. He died in 1870 after being hit by a short delivery from bowler John Platts and was carried off the field; he, however, was not taken to the hospital because he seemed to recover. This, although, proved to be wrong. He died four days later because of the injury, and was 25 at that time.

There are many other examples, in which injuries to player end their cricket career but they survived. Nari Contractor in 1960, Irfan Pathan hand injuries, Saba Karim’s eye injury and Zimbabwe’s Mark Vermeulen fractured his skull while batting in a triangular series match against India in Brisbane on Irfan Pathan’s ball.

Increasing incidence of injuries and death definitely hinting for ‘revolutionary’ safety and security for guarding body in Cricket needed.

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