Ranji Trophy: Smashed in his Head, Australian Umpire Escapes Phillip Hughes-Like Death
During the Ranji Trophy clash between Punjab and Tamil Nadu at Dindigul, Australian umpire John Ward was hit on the back of his head and he collapsed to the ground in pain. Last year, Aussie cricketer Phillip Hughes died after being struck in the back of his head by a bouncer.
The tragic death of Phillip Hughes on November 27, 2014 shook the entire cricketing world. The incident is still fresh in the minds of many cricket fans. Just one year and four days after Hughes' death, a major tragedy was averted during a Ranji game between Punjab and Tamil Nadu in Dindigul.
An Australian umpire, officiating in a Ranji Trophy match, survived a crushing blow in his head.
Punjab's Brainder Sran smashed a straight drive past left-arm orthodox spinner DT Chandrasekhar and the ball hit umpire John Ward on the back of his head. Ward dropped to the ground writhing in pain and he was rushed to Apollo Hospital in Madurai, which was 40 kilometers away from the venue.
According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, after being motionless for a couple of seconds, Ward got up and walked to the ambulance all by himself. His condition was declared stable and he was kept under observation for 24 hours. Tamil Nadu Cricket Association officialsÂ said there is no danger to his life.
The injury to umpire Ward, who has officiated in six one-day internationals, brings to light an incident involving Sydney-based umpire Karl Wentzel.
Umpire who wears a helmet
Wentzel is known as the "umpire who wears helmet" in Australia's domestic circuit. He lost five teeth in 2001 when a ball hit him in the mouth. He was knocked out and required a series of operations that cost USD 44,000.
Last year, Hillel Oscar, an Israeli umpire, died when a ball ricocheted off the stumps and struck him on the head.
Following these incidents, about 25 umpires who were officiating in the English County circuit voiced their concerns to the England and Wales Cricket Board umpiring manager in August 2015.
According to Rob Bailey, one of the umpires who voiced their concerns, a lot of people are in danger.
"Bats are massive now and are only going to become more powerful and the ball is pinging off them. Fortunately no-one has been badly hit," he said.
Although Ward is out of danger, this incident has shown the perils umpires face on the cricket field. It has highlighted the need for umpires to be protected in an era where bat and ball can combine to injure and even kill.