November 27, 2014 would be one of the darkest days for me a cricket fan and as a fellow cricketer. One bouncer is all it took to reduce a game to a matter of life and death. For once, it was not a matter of who won or who lost but a tragic reminder of how cruel and how dangerous the game we all love so much can be.
As a slow medium pacer, I always envied the quicker bowlers for their ability to bowl bouncers and intimidate the batsman. In the age of smaller boundaries and batting power plays, very rarely does a rule change come to the aid of a bowler. It was a welcoming surprise to see ICC legalize the use of a second bouncer in an over!
As a top order batsman, I’ve always hated fast bowlers who terrorized me with their speed. Being hit by the ball isn’t a sweet experience. I, myself, have been knocked out for a few seconds after being the victim of an unintentional beamer on a cold, rainy evening.
As a batsman, I’m fully aware that I have a chance of being hit whenever I go out to bat, and as a bowler, I’m equally aware that I have the chance to hurta batsman with my pace and skill. However, as a sportsperson, life and death are not the things that come to your mind when you enter the ground.
There is little you can do to prevent such freak accidents in sport. Hughes was wearing a helmet and was batting on 60 odd and yet all it took was one lethal delivery to end it all.
But, what you can do, is try to prevent the damage as much as possible. Most of us here have been watching cricket since we were kids. Yet, at club and corporate level, I have seen dozens of players not wear a helmet when they walk out to bat. By doing so you are just exposing yourself to that much more amount of risk of being hit.
Let the tragic incident of Hughes serve as a cruel reminder about the unpredictability of life. You never know when the next ball is going to kick out from that crack on the turf or where your top edge might end up! Hence this is my shout to all of you to be as careful as possible next time you step out on the field as a sportsperson!