Why Make Game Intimidating, Life Threatening?
Outpouring of Support for Bowler Refreshing amid Phil Hughes’ tragedy
It is touching to see the outpouring of support for both the family of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes (26), who passed away yesterday two days after being hit in the skull by a bouncer during a match in Sydney, and for Sean Abbott (22), the bowler who delivered the fatal ball.
While a young life has been cut short by a tragedy on the field, our sympathies are also with Sean as any guilt he nurtures must not be allowed to wear him down. The incident has already left him shaken. It is thus refreshing to see the cricketing world stand by him in his moment of need.
At a time like this, it is so easy for emotional outbursts to be unleashed against the bowler. However, even the victim’s family is with Sean and that is a testament to mature, humanitarian reactions. It is an accident none could have foreseen, so any apportioning of blame is not called for!
Changes Needed to Make Cricket Safe
Sean did nothing wrong, he was just playing by the rules of the game. If anything, it is up to cricketing authorities to ensure that the game does not see lives being snuffed out on the field.
Cricket has always been a dangerous, intimidating game where winning by hook or by crook counts and not the joy of playing. If it was a gentleman’s game played for fun with genuine sportsmanship, why are bouncers that target the head and not the stumps allowed?
Gamesmanship in competitive cricket is long dead, taken over by matchfixing and big bucks, stripping the sport of any real spectator interest. It is the money in it that matters most, not the fun that emanates from it.
India’s Raman Lamba is among the cricketers who had lost their lives playing the game. He was hit while playing in a club match in Bangladesh in 1998.
South African Darryn Randall was another who fell to a ball late last year.
Nari Contractor survived a hit on his skull by a ball from fast bowler Charlie Griffith during a match in the West Indies in 1961, when the players wore no helmet. Nonetheless, it was a lethal blow that brought his cricket career to an abrupt and sad end.
Hughes wore a helmet but that was not enough to save his life! He was 63 not out when he was struck by the ball. Sadly, he did not retire hurt, he himself is gone!
RIP Phil Hughes!
G Joslin Vethakumar