I have followed the dreadful events that have penetrated the main news media throughout the course of this last week. I was horrified at the pictures that came after Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes turned to evade a cricket ball and collapsed on the pitch. It was awful to see the desperation as the fielders immediately realised how catastrophic the event was and tried to resuscitate him. They were successful, but the damage was too great – he could not survive.
The thought that cricket could be that dangerous has left cricket-lovers of all ages, across all continents reeling. As I have looked back over how I raised my son, I was so glad that he played cricket and not rugby. Cricket is safe. Despite this tragedy, I still believe that, but it does have its dangers. Like any sport where balls fly at speed, you have to be careful. Just yesterday, at Simonstown Golf course, a woman was hit on the head by a golf ball. Not every time someone is struck, does death follow. With all the cricket that is played, millions of balls being bowled, tens of thousands of games taking place across the globe, death comes rarely to the cricket pitch. But having said that, one death is too many. Apart from Hughes, I could find information on 5 players and the names of two more who have died from being hit by a fast paced ball. In fact, last year, 2 cricketers lost their lives by being hit on the field by a cricket ball, one of them South African.
Darryn Randall (October 2013)
Darryn Randall was 32 years old, born in East London and played for Border. Last year on 27th October 2013, he was playing a local match in Alice, Eastern Cape and was struck on the head from a delivery by Mbulelo Budaza. Randall collapsed on the field, was rushed to hospital but was unable to be revived. Mbulelo knows how Sean Abbott feels. And Randall’s family must have a flood of memories return as they have walked in the shoes of the family of Phillip Hughes.
Zulfiqar Bhatti (December 2013)
Also in 2013, in December young Pakistani cricket player, Zulfiqar Bhatti, was batting in a T20 tournament. He was hit in the chest and rushed to hospital. Unfortunately, he was declared dead on arrival. The youngest of four, playing in club cricket was being captained by an older brother at the time. It was the second ball he faced, when the tragedy struck. The country declared three days of mourning in his honour.
Raman Lamba (February 1998)
The incident happened on 20th February 1998. Indian cricket player Raman Lamba, at the age of 38 was fielding in a Bangladesh league match when he was hit on the temple while fielding at forward short leg. (For those of you that don’t know, this catching position is just a few metres away from the batsman).
The batsman was Bangladeshi cricketer, Mehrab Hossain, and the shot was described as ‘ferocious’. It deflected off Lamba’s temple and into the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Lamba had turned down a helmet as there were only three balls left to bowl. He was rushed to hospital and a specialist surgeon flown in from India, but three days later Lamba was declared brain dead and the ventilator turned off. There was a massive outpouring of sympathy and support. As with Sean Abbot, Hossain was devastated by the accident and took time off from cricket for a while. He returned to international cricket and played up until 2003. He is still active in league cricket.
Those are the deaths of cricket players as a result of cricket balls, that have occurred across the world in the last 16 years, that I can find information on. Two English players George Smerz and Ayan Folay have names mentioned as players who died, but I couldn’t find any further information about them.Sporteology. An umpire, Alcwyn Jenkins died in 2009 after receiving a blow to the head by an incoming ball thrown by a fielder. There have been also been other deaths during cricket matches that have been illness related eg heart attacks. Two
Prior to 1998, there were only two known deaths as a result of batsman being hit by bowled balls.
Abdul Aziz (1959)
Pakistani player, Abdul Aziz was batting in a domestic match in Karachi, Pakistan. He was hit in the chest by a fast paced cricket ball. After being rushed to hospital, he was declared dead on arrival.
George Summers ( 1870)
The first recorded case of a batsman dying after being struck by a cricket ball goes back to the English summer of 1870. George Summers was the cricketer at the crease batting for Nottinghamshire at Lord’s. He was struck on the head, but did not appear to have any untoward injuries, so much so that after the match, he caught a train home. Unfortunately, he died four days later.
It’s quite sobering, but in the light of how much cricket is played, it is a tiny fraction. Our lives could end at any stage, by any means. Jesus gives us the hope of eternal life
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
There are many things we will not understand this side of eternity. Best to believe what Jesus says and follow Him.
God bless you.
In His Grip,
Helga xx 🙂
Gratitude Pic….long summer days = glorious sunsets…