Cricket © Getty Images (Representational Photo)
In Cricket accidents have happened in the past, and there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again in the future. © Getty Images (Representational Photo)

Just two days after Phillip Hughes’ tragic demise, an Israeli umpire succumbed after being hit on the jaw by a ball. Sameer Jha looks at a game which has suddenly started to look dangerous.

Anything can happen in a game of cricket. The old adage is usually used to refer to the unpredictable nature in which games can be won or lost. However, with the demise of Hughes (and now the Israeli umpire Hillel Oscar) the adage has assumed an eerie meaning. Cricket can be fatal.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened. Raman Lamba had died during a Bangladesh league game, after being hit on the forehead while fielding at short leg. It was a death that could have been avoided had Lamba accepted to wear the helmet offered to him by Khaled Mashud. Even while umpiring, 72-year-old Alcwyn Jenkins was killed after a throw from a fielder hit him on the head.

Is playing cricket supposed to be safe?

“There are individuals out there who use the body protection as a form of staying power, to go on as long as possible. That’s the worst way anybody can be thinking, that you should cover yourself in a suit of armour, to make yourself brave, or to enable you to hook — when you never hooked in your life – just because you’ve got a helmet on. That’s rubbish. Even though they say cricket is a gentleman’s game, it’s a man’s game”, Viv Richards had said in an interview with The Guardian.

Cricket is dangerous. There is no doubt about that. So many mishaps are possible. A bowler can be hit straight on his head after a batsman hits a shot, a fielder can misjudge a rocketing shot and get gravely injured, two fielders (well-built and strong) can collide while running to take a catch and find themselves with broken bones. A lot of such accidents have happened in the past, and there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again in the future.

A personal tale

I can recall, when I was around 13 or 14, some of my classmates would boast about playing cricket with the “season ball” (which is what a cricket ball made of leather was called). I was never the ubiquitous athlete, so I did not develop the courage to join them and put my body on the line. I did play some cricket though, with the tennis and rubber, but never with the competitive intensity that could lead to a serious (or even a minor) injury.

(Sameer Jha is a reporter at CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha_)