Home > Features > Serials >

Head and face injuries in cricket — Part 2 of 3

Mike Gatting's nose was smashed by a Malcolm Marshall bouncer © Getty Images
Mike Gatting’s nose was smashed by a Malcolm Marshall bouncer © Getty Images

There will be some who will maintain that cricket, being not a full body-contact sport, is not the most dangerous of all outdoor sport. Plenty of injuries — especially above the throat — across its chequered past have, on the contrary, made cricket more dangerous than it meets the eye; Abhishek Mukherjee lists a few in the second of this three-part series.

11) Derek Randall, MCG, 1976-77

If McCosker’s case was a heroic one, Randall’s was more of comical: as Randall almost single-handedly threatened to chase down 463 (he scored 174 in the process) he was at the receiving end of a Lillee bouncer barrage, one of which hit Randall on the head.

“No point hitting me there, there’s nothing in it,” came the prompt response. That was Randall for you.

12) Peter Toohey, Queen’s Park Oval, 1977-78

Following Kerry Packer’s “invasion”, Australia sent out a second-string team to West Indies, while West Indies retained their first team. The tourists were easy prey for Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, and Joel Garner, and were bowled out for 90 shortly after lunch.

Poor Toohey had walked out at ten for two, and was given a torrid time by Roberts and Croft. Having scored a single over what seemed like ages (Australia had lost two more wickets by then), Toohey tried to hook a Roberts bouncer (this was his famous “faster bouncer”; he had two of them). The crunching echoed throughout the field, and Viv Richards rushed quickly to hold Toohey before he fell to the ground.

The ball had hit Toohey on the forehead, just above the bridge of the nose and he was rendered unconscious. To Toohey’s credit, he walked out again after the fall of the eighth wicket, only to be hit by Roberts on the thumb. He still carried on, refusing to leave till Garner bowled him for 20.

13) Andy Lloyd, Edgbaston, 1984

Lloyd still remains the only batsman who has opened innings and has yet never been dismissed in Test cricket, and there is a valid reason for that. The Warwickshire opener had been drafted in for the first Test at Edgbaston, and to be fair to him, he displayed commendable resilience and concentration.

Then Malcolm Marshall ran in and unleashed a bouncer; Lloyd moved away, the ball hit him on the earpiece of the helmet, and Lloyd had to retire; he suffered from concussion and blurred vision for a few days, and never went back to Test cricket.

14) Bob Hawke, 1984

Bouncing your Prime Minister is something a lot of people must have wanted to do at some point of time, but Gary O’Neill (of Herald), playing for Pressmen against Parliamentarians, actually achieved that in 1984 by sending out a ripper to Hawke, the then Australian Prime Minister and breaking his spectacles as a result.

Glass fragments had to be removed from Hawke’s eye, and he resumed batting again (though Labour Party Secretary Bob McCullen injured while fielding and had to be carried off the ground). Hawke might have been 55 at that stage, but he was a quite competent cricketer, and was selected for an Oxford University Trial Match in 1954.

15) Mike Gatting, Sabina Park, 1985-86

Marshall always tormented batsmen all over the world, but somehow he always seemed more hostile against the Englishmen.

On this occasion Richards had ordered him to bowl the “perfume ball”, and Marshall obliged. Let alone Gatting, no batsman would have stood a chance against that.

It was a vicious bouncer, and the combative Gatting made the error of going for the hook rather than ducking under it. There was a crunching noise at the ball hit Gatting on his nose. As the Middlesex mainstay staggered to the ground, he heard the telltale sound of the ball hitting the stumps.

The extent of the injury became clear only when the ball returned to Marshall: a fragment of bone was still embedded in it.

Gatting was flown back for treatment; there were numerous cartoons depicting his then panda-like appearance; and a confused journalist asked him, “Where exactly did it hit you?” To his immense credit, Gatting flew back to join his team after a month. This time he got away with a broken thumb.

16) Sachin Tendulkar, Sialkot, 1989-90

Despite the ripples of sensation he had caused in the Indian domestic circuit, the 16-year old had not yet taken the world by storm on his maiden Test tour. India hung on by the scruff of their necks as they reached Sialkot, where they secured a lead for the first time in the series.

India led by 74, but some hostile bowling from Wasim Akram left them in tatters at 38 for four. Sachin Tendulkar walked out to join Navjot Sidhu, and was immediately hit on the nose by a steep bouncer from Waqar Younis — arguably the fastest among contemporary fast bowlers.

The physiotherapist rushed in as the youngster bled profusely; even Sidhu asked Tendulkar to leave; it was then that the mildest, the softest, yet the most determined of voices spoke back: “main khelega” (I will play).

And he played for 24 more years.

17) Meyrick Pringle, New Wanderers, 1992-93

Indian fast bowlers are not known for felling batsmen with bouncers, but Javagal Srinath’s pace was not easy to handle, especially in the early days of his career. Pringle tried to hook, but the lanky Srinath turned out to be fast for him: the ball made its way through the grille of his helmet.

Pringle had to be carried away in a stretcher. He did not play another Test in three years.

18) Ian Folley, Hensingham, 1993

Folley was a left-arm medium-pacer and spinner who did a competent job for Lancashire and Derbyshire. He was captaining Whitehaven against Workington in the North Lancashire League when a bouncer hit him just below his eye. He jogged off the field after the match.

Unfortunately, he had to be rushed to the hospital soon afterwards; he had to undergo a minor surgery for a perforated eyeball; but passed away when he was under anaesthesia.

19) Sultan Zarawani, Rawalpindi, 1996 World Cup

Sultan Zarawani was a ridiculously reach even by UAE standards, and was a not-too-bad cricketer either; he led UAE in all seven ODIs he played, and became one of the numerous bowlers whose first international wicket was Tendulkar. On that World Cup encounter, however, arrogance had got the better of him when he walked out to face Allan Donald in a sunhat.

If Donald was not sufficiently incensed, Pat Symcox did the trick with the words “Al, this guy’s asking for it.” Donald knocked the sunhat off the first ball he faced, but Zarawani stood up, and the helmet was not summoned during his seven-ball duck.

20) Devon Malcolm, The Oval, 1994

The error was Fanie de Villiers’: it was déjà vu of the Lindwall-Tyson incident. He hit Malcolm on his head with a bouncer.

Malcolm recovered to his feet and retorted with one of the most iconic lines in history: “You guys are history”. He had already forced Jonty Rhodes to retire hurt in the first innings by hitting him on the head (to be fair, Rhodes had erroneously ducked into a bouncer). Now he took things to the next level.

One of the fiercest bursts of fast bowling saw South Africa lose their first three wickets with a single run on board; they never recovered, Malcolm finished with nine wickets in 16.3 overs, and their 28-run lead became redundant when Michael Atherton and Graeme Hick chased down the target with ease.

Read Part 1 of this article

To be concluded…

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah


Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)


Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra


SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

India vs Australia 2014-15: Harry Conway replaces Gurinder Sandhu in CA XI squad

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Ahmed Shehzad set to return for ODIs; Sohaib Maqsood ruled out

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Moeen Ali: Would love to open for England again

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here