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Cricket needs to be rethought


Cricket is a game which has been spreading joys amongst people. But on some rare occasions it has also given great disappointment to everyone.

No one had ever thought that Australian summer would begin in such a dreadful manner. Everyone had an alacrity about India’s tour of Australia and the World Cup to be played later. The unfortunate incident of Phillip Hughes has taught us lots of things about cricket’s present, past, and future.

There is always an association of the luck factor when it comes to cricket. The gap between success and failure is pretty small in this sport, in fact as small as an inch or two. When a batsman middles the ball, the pleasant sound coming out of that sweet spot is enough to tell the end result. There is immense joy on the batsman’s face while executing it to perfection.

Margins of error

But if the batsman misjudges the line or length by an inch or so, quite often, it takes the edge or misses the bat completely, causing him to walk back to the pavilion. The emotions take a U-turn here as now the bowler is celebrating and the batsman is taking a long walk back.

Even in case of Phillip Hughes, if the ball had hit couple of inches above or below, he could have been playing in the 1st Test by now. If he had reacted a second later, he could have sent that ball beyond the ropes. But that’s cricket, there is no place for ‘if’s in it. This was indeed a didactic incident which cricket has showed us.

The first important thing we’ve learned from this incident is the uncertainty involved in this game and also its pernicious nature. Cricket is not like Rugby or Boxing where injury is unavoidable. But at the same time it is not like Tennis and Table Tennis which are innocuous sports.

It doesn’t matter whether you are batting on 100 or you have just joined in the middle, the next ball you face might be your last one. Helmets were used for the first time in 1970s. Since then, the confidence has been high for batsmen while playing against fast bowlers. But this incident has proved that still there are some areas of the body which are exposed against the cricket ball.

It is extremely essential for sports scientists to redesign the equipment like helmet, maintaining the balance between ease of use for players and maximum protection.

Cricketers often get criticized when they are paid highly. But there’s another side to it; whenever they are out there in the middle, they often live their life on the edge. One small mistake and that’s it. A bowler’s ideology is quite simple, you miss buddy and I’ll hit. Just when people were trying to forget this incident, an umpire in Israel was hit on chest, eventually it resulted in his death. This tells us that it’s not just a batsman but virtually every player on field is susceptible to serious injuries.

This incident took place given a fact that Phillip Hughes had all the best facilities in world, right from cricket equipment to a medical service. Yet it was not sufficient to save his life. The likes of Gavaskar, Richards and Bradman scored heaps of runs in an era when pitches lacked quality and fast bowlers had no limits on bouncers. One can just imagine about awe-inspiring talent possessed by these stalwarts as they reached apogee against all odds.

Without any doubt it can be said that those players had more formidable technique, composure and courage than the current players. These days when we see cricketers getting quick success and money by hitting just few boundaries in a T20 game, one feels sad about those legends who played solely for pride of their country taking such risks.

Cricket needs to be rethought

Though test cricket’s reach is primarily limited to only 8 permanent test playing countries, Phillip Hughes received eulogy from every corner of the world. People from every class of society prayed for Hughsey. That’s why Michael Clarke said in his speech that this makes our sport best in the world. At the same time, yet again, Michael Clarke displayed his leadership qualities. He played a crucial role by handling everything and taking initiatives in every possible manner.

This incident has given a lot to think for the bowlers as well. Mitchell Johnson who made England cry last summer, broke down into tears. It's an obscure task for young Sean Abott to get back to his run up again. All these quickies have understood about how worse it can get.

Ironically, sport doesn’t stop for anybody. Just in few days after Phillip Hughes incident, players at all levels were back on field. They knew that the show must go on. As Australia is facing India in the 1st Test, they are trying to be mentally strong and put the best efforts on field.  

As cricket starts a new journey, there is a hope of spreading only joy without forgetting the learnings from this incident.

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