Australian batsman Phillip Hughes’ tragic demise in November 2014 highlighted the issue of safety in cricket and the need for proper equipment. The tragedy also reminded us of other horrifying moments in the sports past that, fortunately, were not quite as fatal. Here is a look at some of the scariest moments in cricket moments that left fans wondering how safe the gentlemans game really is.
Anil Kumble stunned Brain Lara, and well, most of the cricketing fraternity, when the tall spinner turned out to bowl in the fourth Test match against West Indies in Antigua in 2002. Earlier, the tail-ender Kumble was hit by Merv Dillon in the face but continued batting till the declaration of the Indian innings despite the blood. While the West Indians, and the rest of the world, expected Kumble to nurse his injury, he not only resumed bowling duties with a heavily bandaged jaw but also dismissed Lara.
Rahul Dravid sustained a fractured jaw bone after being hit by Shahadat Hossain bouncer that he was trying to duck in the second Test match during India’s tour of Bangladesh in early 2010. He flew back home for surgery and was later ruled out of the following home series against South Africa, the only instance of Dravid missing out a Test match (series) due to an injury all along his career.
West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard survived a cruel eye injury after being hit by a short ball from Dominic Cork during the Friends Provident T20 Final at the Rose Bowl in 2010. Batting on 22, off just seven balls, Pollard retired hurt and was immediately rushed to hospital after what looked like a serious blow. The scans however revealed nothing serious.
Australia’s World Cup winning captain in 1999, the legendary Stave Waugh and pacer Jason Gillespie had a horrific collision while fielding in a Test match against Sri Lanka in Kandy. The duo sustained serious facial and leg injuries and were immediately airlifted to a Colombo hospital following the incident. While Gillespie had a leg surgery, and was ruled out of cricket for 15 months, Waugh returned to play the next match despite a surgery on his nose.
Zimbabwe’s Mark Vermeulen had a freak injury when he was struck above the eye by an Irfan Pathan delivery during his team’s VB Series encounter against India in Brisbane in January 2004. The batsman retired hurt as the ball got stuck in his helmet and the batsman. Couple of years later, the player was arrested on charges of setting fire to the offices of the Harare Sports club. It is believed that the former Test player was cleared in 2008 on the grounds that he was suffering psychiatric problems and partial epilepsy as a result of the blow.
South Africas Gary Kirsten suffering two minor fractures, one his nose and one below the eye, and received 10 stitches for attempting a hook shot! Kirsten was hit by a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer as he attempted a hook in the first innings of the first Test at Gaddafi stadium in October 2003. He was immediately rushed to the hospital after the nasty below, but returned for batting in the second innings.
Legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara and Sri Lanka’s Maravan Atapattu had a critical collision mid field during a Test Match in 2001 when while attempting a run, Lara ran into Atapattu who was fielding at short-leg. Lara sustained serious injuries, a shoulder dislocation and a fractured finger which subsequently forced him out several international matches.