Dubai: Sport, as the term suggests, is not always fun. There are many dangers waiting for us. As the level increases, so does the intensity and with it the level of danger, leaving very little room for error. A false step can result in cuts, bruises, broken bones and sometimes a broken jaw, but in extreme cases causing the death of the athlete.
Injuries in sport and among athletes are now the talking point after Tiger Woods returned to the Masters after a serious car crash that nearly left his leg amputated Mich Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher , who has been in a coma since a ski accident in 2014, reminiscing about his father’s exploits in Melbourne and finally a metal plate removed from Nari Contractor’s skull 60 years later after he was hit in the head by a bouncer. It’s a little known fact that a leather ball thrown at over 140 km/h can be as deadly as a bullet.
Gulf News looks at several cricket injuries that either cut short their careers or ended their lives prematurely.
1. Contractor Nari
The former India captain had a metal plate affixed to his skull after he was hit by a Charlie Griffith bouncer in 1962, which ultimately ended Contractor’s international career. The incident was one of the most talked about after Sir Frank Worrell and some of the West Indian players as he was fighting for his life in a hospital in Barbados. However, the 88-year-old Contractor had his titanium plate removed at a hospital in Mumbai earlier this week.
2. Raman Lamba
The former Indian fly-half was one of the prolific goalscorers in the Indian National League and became the man of the series in a one-day series against Australia in 1986-87. Although he didn’t enjoy much success afterwards, Lamba was a big name in the pre-IPL era and played in other leagues. It was in the Bangladesh league that he suffered a blow to the head while fielding with the short leg, but without a helmet. He fell into a coma after internal bleeding and died in hospital in Dhaka.
3. Phil Hughes
The Australian fly-half, one of the exciting talents, died two days later after being hit by a bouncer a week before his 26th birthday during a Sheffield Shield match at Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25, 2014. Although the southpaw was wearing a helmet, the ball hit him in the unprotected area under the left ear. His death sent ripples through the cricketing world and called for several improvements in batting safety.
4. Saba Karim
The wicket-keeper was in and out of the Indian squad for over a decade and just when he seemed to have cemented his place in the team, disaster struck. He was hit in the right eye while guarding the wickets for Anil Kumble at the Asian Cup in Dhaka in May 2000, ending his career after undergoing surgery.
5. Marc Boucher
Another wicket-keeper whose career was cut short by a surety who stole and hit him while guarding. It was another day at Boucher’s office in a tour match against Somerset in July 2012. Fellow South African Imran Tahir kicked Gemaal Hussain and the bail hit the left eye as he stood without no protection. He missed the rest of the tour and then retired, but luckily there was no retinal damage.
6. Craig Kieswetter
The England wicketkeeper was hit in the face after the ball penetrated through the helmet grate and damaged his vision while playing for Somerset in 2014. Although he was part of England’s La 2015 World Cup, South African Kieswetter continued to face challenges with his vision. and retired in 2017, aged 27, to become a professional golfer.
7. HP Lighton
Throughout, we’ve only talked about batters and wicket-keepers whose careers have been affected by a bowler. Here is an example where the bowler himself became a victim. In 1872, at Repton in Derbyshire, Lighton was struck in the head by a batter’s blow and died of his injuries.
8 Steve Smith
The former Australian skipper is a perfect candidate for a concussion. In fact, Smith, one of the best hitters in world cricket today, was the first to be substituted after the concussion rule came into effect in 2019. He was hit in the head by the Englishman Jofra Archer during the Ashes Test at Lord’s. He’s been concussed three times and if he’s not hit at bat, then Smith finds himself concussed while on the field.
9. Will Pucovski
Concussion and Australia’s opener seemed inseparable. Pucovski suffered a concussion for the 11th time, sparking fears for his health and long-term effects. Playing his first professional cricket match in a year, Pucovski was hit in the face by a volleyball during a warm-up ahead of Victoria’s Sheffield Shield game against South Australia. He was punched in the face after hitting his head.
10. Anil Kumble
Famous as Jumbo, the Indian spinner played with a bandage strapped to his jaw after suffering a broken jaw while facing Mervyn Dillon in Antigua in 2002. Brave-hearted Kumble struck after suffering the break and even came out to play for India and fired legendary West Indian southpaw Brian Lara before returning to Bangalore the next day for his surgery.