Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ban this dreadful and stupid game once and for all!

Cricket just claimed another victim, this time 25 year old Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes. For cricket lovers and who worship the game the title of my post may be blasphemy and many of them may even be up in arms against me but I stand by what I am saying. Ban this stupid game once and for all or rewrite the rules so that it can be played safely.

In 2013, we lost two cricketers, Zulfiqar Bhatti, a 22 year old rising cricketing star from Sukkur in Sindh, Pakistan, who died after being hit by a ball on his chest. South African cricketer Darryn Randall also died that year after he was hit on the head by a delivery. Other players who died on the ground were Jasper Vinall and George Summers, both English cricketers who were both hit on the head with the ball and Abdul Aziz from Pakistan who was struck on his chest with the ball. I am wondering if the bowlder or batsman or fielder are culpable for murder, though that was not their intention when they were bowling, batting or throwing the ball at the unfortunate victim. One Umpire, Alcwyn Jenkins was also an unfortunate victim. He died in 2009 in Swansea, Wales after being hit on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder. What a tragic way for an umpire to die.

We also lost Raman Lamba and Ian Folley who died soon after cricket balls struck them. Raman Lamba was struck on the head and Ian Folley was hit below his eye.

Apart from deaths the cricket ball is responsible for an untold list of injuries of players. And what to say of others playing the game the world over. To quote Wikipedia, "Numerous injuries are reported to health institutions, worldwide, in relation to cricket ball injuries including ocular (with some players having lost eyes), cranial (head), dental (teeth), digital (fingers and toes) and testicular". One of our close friends lost his son when the cricket ball hit the child's groin area. The child went through excruciating pain for several years before death finally took him. The boy obviously wouldn't have used the groin guard. Even if he did I wonder how much it would have helped. Phil Hughes who was struck a couple of days ago was wearing the helmet after all.

Ask anyone playing cricket and they have a story or more to tell about injuries with the cricket ball. Not to forget the innumerable broken window panes, lights of lamp posts, headlights and windscreens of vehicles besides other damages. I warn parents whose children are taking to the game with the cricket ball for the first time to be with them and monitor the game closely to prevent any damage or injuries that may happen to your precious children. Ensure they are adequately protected, particularly if they are batting, doing wicket keeping and while fielding close to the batsmen in positions such as the forward short leg.

I had mentioned in a post made on this blog long ago Why cricket can be dumped for baseball, how cricket is gradually becoming baseball. It is high time we dumped cricket for baseball.

Though the baseball (used in the baseball game) is bigger than the cricket ball, the latter is heavier, making it even more dangerous. Baseballs today contain rubber for the dense material which is a lot more elastic and softer than the "cork" that goes into cricket balls. Considering how hard the baseball is struck all over the pitch it came as a surprise to me that the game has seen just one fatality on the ground and that too way back in 1920. I have been reading that there was another death but I haven't come across conclusive reports but 2 is way smaller than the fatality figures we have in cricket.

My research revealed yet another truth. Spitball (polishing the ball with saliva) was banned in Baseball as early at the 1920's whereas in cricket it was being employed even in the 80's and 90's. Using sweat and saliva on the ball (which is disgusting in the first place) gives it additional aerodynamics on it flight path making it more lethal to the facing batsman.

The most astonishing find of all was with American football. Considering the game that American Football (NFL) is, only one player has died on the field in the history of the sport and that too due to a heart attack and that too without any contact with other players or the ball.

Replacing the ball with a tennis ball or other softer balls is certainly a safer option but the cricket world is not going to play it that way. So the best solution would be to stop playing this game all together but that's wishful thinking on my part.

My heart goes out for the family of Phillip Hughes and I pray his soul rest in peace.


Subash S L said...

I just cannot believe this. Two days after the death of Philip Hughes, an Umpire at a game being played in Israel, has fallen victim. He was struck on the face by a ball that ricocheted off the stumps. One can imagine the speed the lethal projectile (the cricket ball) was thrown by the fielder then. How many more victims does this game have to claim before it can be banned?

GVK said...

Besides being danger-prone, cricket can be dreadfully boring. In no other game a ball, which is meant to be up and about, all the time, is held in hand for so long between throws.

Subash S L said...

Thanks GVK. Your point noted. Many years ago my boss in the U.S would tell me of this dreadful experience he had while watching a test match on T.V in the U.K. It was his first time he was watching cricket and he shouldn't have watched a Test match. He would tell me how dreadful it was with the bowler bowling an infinite number of balls at the batsman without a run being scored. It was so awfully boring he just changed the channel to watch something else.

Subash S L said...

Actually this comment is long overdue. Didn't I say the game will claim more victims. Promising player from Kolkata, Ankit Keshri died on the field. Even Sachin Tendulkar tweeted about the tragedy. Another player also died being hit on the head (reported in The Hindu (don't recollect the date though)) though this time it wasn't any of those popular matches. More such tragedies are to come.