Cricketers Who Died During Matches
Cricket is a game of great technique and patience. It is often dubbed the gentleman’s sport, because of its pace. But, over the years, the sport has changed a lot. For instance, from 5-day Test matches that became One Day games, we have now come to the Twenty-20 format. The sport is now faster and more aggressive.
The sport, however, has never really been devoid of aggression, which is why, accidents on cricket fields are not uncommon. While some of the players have recovered from the injuries, many have, unfortunately, succumbed to the pain. Let us look at 10 Cricketers Who Died During Matches.
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10 Cricketers Who Died During Matches
10. Wilf Slack
Wilf Slack was an English cricketer who appeared in three Test matches and two One Day International matches for the national team of England back in 1986, until things came to a sudden halt due to his accidental death. On the 15th of January 1986, during a match in Banjul, The Gambia, 34 year old Slack collapsed and passed away. Coached in five English winters in New Zealand, Slack was quite popular among his fellow cricketers. After his death, his Wisden obituary responded, “He was particularly popular among fellow-cricketers, who spoke feelingly of their respect and sorrow when he died. He was mourned, too, in New Zealand, where he coached in five English winters. Slack was buried in his prized England blazer, bat at his side, and as the funeral cortege drove past Lord’s, the Grace Gates bore a sign reading ‘Farewell Wilf’.”
9. Wasim Raja
Pakistani cricketer Wasim Raja was a part of the national cricket team of Pakistan during the period 1973-1985, and participated in 57 Test matches and 54 ODI matches for Pakistan. Rameez Raja, an eminent player of the team and one of the best captains, was his brother. Wasim was married to an Englishwoman named Ann, with whom he settled in London. Wasim studied for a certificate in education from Durham University. After teaching at Caterham School in Surrey for some time, he assumed the position of the coach of Pakistan’s Under-19 team. He was also seen in a different avatar on the field when, from 2002 to 2004, he was the International Cricket Council match referee in 34 ODIs and 15 Tests. While playing in August 2006 in a match in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in England, as a part of the Surrey over-50s side, he had a heart attack, and thus, breathed his last.
8. Richard Beaumont
Richard Beaumont, 33-years old cricketer, suffered a suspected heart attack on the pitch at Pedmore Cricket Club, Stourbridge, on 5th August 2012. He was immediately airlifted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital after he fell unconscious. Sadly, he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at the hospital. Richard Beaumont took 5 wickets for just 31 runs from 12 overs from opponents Astwood Bank Cricket Club and then collapsed at 3.45 pm during the match. To remember Beaumont, local rivals took to social networking sites. On that occasion, Redditich Cricket Club stated, ‘Sad day for cricket the untimely death of Pedmore CC Cricketer Richard Beaumont, thoughts and prayers from all at Redditch Cricket Club.’
7. Zulfiqar Bhatti
Zulfiqar Bhatti was hit on the chest while batting during the Begum Khursheed Memorial T20 tournament in Sukkur, a district in Pakistan’s Sindh province. He was captained by his elder brother Ali Asad and struck on the chest while attempting a pull shot. He was immediately taken to a civil hospital and was put on ventilator but later, he was declared dead due to the impact on December 19, 2013. Districts cricket secretary Ayaz Mehmood stated, “It is sad news for us and everyone is shocked about his accidental death,” and also recorded, “The district administration has suspended sports activities throughout Sukkur district for three days as condolence.”
6. Ian Folley
Ian Folley was a right-handed batsman and a left-arm bowler. The English cricketer was initially a medium-pacer and later moved to spin bowling. After coaching and mentoring from Jack Bond, he switched to spin bowling. Before all this, Folley started his career playing for Lancashire in 1982 as a seamer. He then took 129 wickets with a bowling average of less than 30 over the next two seasons. Folley was hit underneath the eye while batting for Whitehaven in a match against Workington. He was immediately taken to local hospital for a minor operation to repair his perforated eyeball. He suffered a heart attack and died while under anesthesia on 30 August 1993 at the age of just 30.
5. George Summers
George Summers, born 21 June 1844, was an English cricketer who played his entire first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire. He was hit by a short delivery from fast bowler John Platts in a match against MCC at Lord’s in 1870. He seemed to recover after he was carried off the field and was not taken to hospital. He was going by train back to Nottingham. Four days later on 19 June 1870, George Summers died from his injury due to the impact of the ball. MCC paid for his gravestone and efforts were made to improve Lord’s pitch after George Summers’s death. The next batsman, Richard Daft, came out to the wicket with his head wrapped in a towel as a protest against what he saw as dangerous bowling.
4. Daren Randal
Daren Randal played 4 first-class and 4 list-A games in 2009 for Border as a pupil at Stirling Primary and Selborne College in East London. He also ran a highly regarded cricket academy at Stirling Premier School. Daren Randal tried to play a pull shot in a match between Old Selbornians and Fore Hare University. He fell on the crease after being hit by the rising delivery on the side of his head. He was immediately taken to a hospital and died on 27 October 2013. CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat while talking about the unfortunate event stated, “This is a very sad day, indeed. I would like to convey CSA’s deepest condolences on behalf of the South African cricketing family not just to his family and friends but also to all the players, umpires, clubs and everybody else who was present at this match.”
3. Abdul Aziz
Abdul Aziz was a wicket keeper and opening batsman who was born, in Karachi, Pakistan. He worked for the Pakistan State Bank and was a student at S. M. College. Abdul Aziz appeared in eight first-class matches for Karachi. He was struck over the heart by a slow off break from Dildwar Awan while he was batting against Pakistan Combined Services in the first-innings of the Quaid-e-Azam final. Aziz fell to the ground and never regained consciousness, when he had started to take stance for the next ball. He died en route to the hospital on 17 January 1959. With a footnote explaining he was hurt but had died because of the impact, Abdul Aziz is recorded as “absent” in the second innings of the match.
2. Raman Lamba
Raman Lamba, an Indian batsman, played in four Tests and 32 One Day Internationals for Indian national cricket team. Besides playing on the Indian team, he also represented Ireland in unofficial One Day International matches. Raman Lamba was playing for Abahani Krira Chakra, Dhaka’s leading club, versus Mohammedan Sporting Club on 20 February 1998 in the final of the Premier Division cricket match at the Dhaka Bangabandhu Stadium, when he was hit by a cricket ball on the temple while fielding at forward short leg by Mehrab Hossain in a ball of left arm spinner Saifullah Khan. The shot made by Mehrab Hossain was so ferocious that the ball deflected from his head and was caught by the wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud. Due to this impact, Raman Lamba died on 23 February 1998.
1. Phillip Hughes
Phillip Hughes was a left-handed opening batsman who was a member of Australian Test and One-Day International team. He played domestic cricket for South Australia and Worcestershire, and also appeared in two seasons with New South Wales. He debuted in Test cricket at the age of 20 in 2009. Phillip Hughes was knocked unconscious by a bouncer by Sean Abbott at the Sydney Cricket Ground during a Sheffield Shield match on 25 November 2014. The impact caused a vertebral artery dissection that led to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Phillip Hughes was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital and was in intensive care in a critical condition while he was placed into an induced coma. Phillip Hughes never regained consciousness and died on 27 November.
Injuries are a part of every sport, and cricket is no different. While many of the injuries are self-inflicted, many happen in the hands of a fellow player. But it is beyond doubt that these are accidents that not only hurt the players but also scar the fellow players, whether it is a team-mate or an opponent. One can never be too careful, but at the same time, accidents cannot really be eliminated from sports.