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11 tragedies and near tragedies on the cricket field

11 tragedies and near tragedies on the cricket field

Injuries on the cricket field have been on the rise, forcing equipment manufacturers to continuously strive for more advanced and safe gears to give players all-round protection.

Injuries on the cricket field have been on the rise, forcing equipment manufacturers to continuously strive for more advanced and safe gears to give players all-round protection. But it’s something you can’t have a foolproof plan against, since sports injuries are part of a sportsperson’s life.

The world of sports got another shocking reminder of that this week, when the young Bengal cricketer Ankit Keshri got fatally injured while fielding in a local match in Kolkata. Keshri, 19, succumbed to his head injury at a hospital three days later.

Two days after that incident, another painful news from the cricket field where another Bengal cricketer Rahul Ghosh suffered head injuries while fielding. He is still in the hospital fighting for his life.

As the world tries to come to terms with Keshri’s tragic death, here are some such fatal and near-fatal incidents on the cricket field.

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1. Ankit Keshri, 19, India

Fielding at sweeper cover, Keshri ran to catch a skier colliding with the bowler who too went after the catch. In a nasty collision, the bowler’s knee hit Keshri’s head after which blood spurted out of his mouth and he fell unconscious. Keshri died in the hospital three days later.

2. Phillip Hughes, 25, Australia

Hit by a bouncer on the back of the head during a Sheffield Shield match. Never regained consciousness, failed to recover following surgery and was declared dead three days later at a Sydney Hospital.

3. Raman Lamba, 38, India

This was the first case of a head injury leading to a cricketer’s death. The former India opener was hit while fielding at silly mid-on in a domestic league match in Bangladesh in February 1998. He underwent brain surgery at Dhaka hospital but lost his battle for life three days later.

4. Abdul Aziz, 17, Pakistan

The young Pakistani wicketkeeper batsman was hit above the heart and fell on the ground unconscious while getting ready to face the next delivery. He never recovered and died en route the hospital.

5. Ewen Chatfield, New Zealand

The New Zealander was hit on the temple by England pacer Peter Lever during a Test match. His respiratory system stopped as he swallowed his tongue but quick resuscitation administered by England physio Bernard Thomas saved his life.

6. Nari Contractor, India

In those days of no helmet in the 1960s, a Charlie Griffith delivery during India’s tour of the West Indies hit the then India captain on his head, leaving him unconscious for six days. His life was saved by blood transfusion but the incident ended his international career.

7. Mark Boucher, South Africa

A freak accident ended South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher’s career during the tour of England while playing a practice match against Somerset in July 2012. Boucher was keeping to Imran Tahir when one of legspinner’s delivery flicked a bail into his left eye leaving it bloodied. Medical findings later revealed a lacerated sclera, forcing him to call of his cricket career days later.

8. Saba Karim, India

The Asia Cup in 2000 ended the Indian wicketkeeper’s career, similar to the way Boucher met his fate 12 years later. An Anil Kumble delivery deflected off Bangladesh batsman Habibul Bashar’s pad and struck Karim in the right eye. Retinal edema and inflammation led to glaucoma that required operation. The incident forced the 34-year-old player to quit the game.

9. Mark Vermulen, Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean was hit on the head twice during his career with conflicting reports that he suffered psychological problems following the first blow. During the 2003 World Cup, Vermulen was hit on the skull during a net session and suffered a hairline fracture. That incident followed another skull fracture during the 2004 triangular series in Australia in a match against India. A top-edge from Vermulen’s bat went through the grill to hit him above the right eye. The injury required reconstructive surgery.

10. Anil Kumble, India

An awkward delivery from former West Indies pacer Mervyn Dillon fractured Anil Kumble’s jaw on India’s West Indies tour of 2002. But the legendary spinner took a courageous decision to come on to bowl with a bandaged jaw and even took the wicket of West Indies legend Brian Lara.

11. Mike Gatting, England

During an ODI in Jamaica in 1986, West Indies pacer Malcolm Marshal’s bouncer hit Gatting on the nose leaving it broken.

first published:April 22, 2015, 13:19 IST