Phillip Hughes was batting on 63. His family was present at the ground as he played another classy innings. The 25-year-old would have known that another 37 runs could get him back into the Australian squad for the upcoming four-match Test series against India. Michael Clarke’s chances for the Brisbane Test were bleak considering he was recovering from a hamstring injury, and Hughes was undoubtedly the strongest contender to fill that spot. But catastrophe struck. After suffering a vicious blow on the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbott, Hughes was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to injuries.
The moment this news broke, the first thing which would have come to the minds of the Indian fans would have been a similar tragedy that happened with former Indian cricketer Raman Lamba. The batsman, who appeared in 4 Tests and 32 ODIs, was 38 when he died after being hit on the head while fielding at forward short leg during a club match in Bangladesh.
This year itself, we saw South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren and Pakistani opener Ahmed Shehzad suffer critical injuries. McLaren, who was hit on the head by Mitchell Johnson in February this year, missed cricket for quite some time because of that blow. Shehzad was the next victim, where he was diagnosed with a minor skull fracture after being hit on the helmet by a bouncer from Corey Anderson. The blow had caused him so much pain that he dropped his bat on to the stumps before collapsing.
While on most of the occasions, batsmen have been the victims to on-field injuries, I believe, the officials need to ensure more security for the bowler and the umpire as they stand right in the front of the bat when a shot is played. Over the years, we have seen several instances where a ball has missed a bowler’s, an umpire’s head by inches. While it is something which is taken on a lighter note as they remain unscathed, it is obviously an unpleasant sight in case of an accident.
When a batsman is hit on the face, the one person who hates it the most is the bowler. In Hughes' case, Sean Abbott was the one who delivered the bouncer and seeing his compatriot collapse on the ground, and now being dead, is something which would haunt him for the rest of his life.
But does it mean that bowling a bouncer in a match should be banned? I don’t think that’s the way going forward. It is as important a part of the game, as a six which brings the crowd out of their seats. A bouncer is the key to a fast bowler’s repertoire. Of late, Johnson revived the art of fast bowling with his intimidating spells against England and South Africa.
The fans want to enjoy cricket, the security aspect is something which the officials have to take care of.
Considering the competitive cricket being played all across the world, it’s high time the officials ensure there is no compromise with the safety of each and every person present on the cricket field.