Two deaths within a week raises question on Cricket safety.
Cricket is known as, “the gentleman’s game,” invented by Britain but two shocking fatalities within a week in November 2014; put a big question mark on cricket safety. After the shocking death of Australian batsman Philip Hughes, who was struck by a ball on his head, an Umpire from Israel was hit by the ball and died at the cricket ground.
The tragic deaths of these men in cricket have led to questions being asked about the safety of the sport. Some have said that being hit by a cricket ball is the same as being hit by a bullet. Is fast bowling and hard pitches making this more likely? Does more need to be done to protect players and umpires? Furthermore, what should be done to make the game safer?
There are only ten countries who are the regular members of international cricket council. Since 1950, there have been nine mortalities in the history of cricket. It is the only game in the world, where five sportsmen have died after hit by a ball on the cricket ground. (A visualisation of Deaths in cricket )
There is a long list of retire hurting batsmen due to injuries caused by hitting a ball.
There is a risk involved in every part of life and sports cannot be any different. The element of risk of death is a different game to game. Wrestling and Boxing are not only sports but involve physical contact. Formula one, Cycling and Skiing are sports based on speed where accidents are quite common. In Baseball, Ice Hockey, Field Hockey and Cricket, the players do not have to fight or get involved in any race to put their life at risk. They play these games with ball or puck. (A visualisation of number of countries taking part in 10 different games) & (A visualisation of the ratio of deaths in 10 games per participant country).
Football is the most popular game in the world as it is played in 209 countries. Since 1950, there have been 14 cases of death in football around the globe. Unfortunately, three deaths in football have been recorded in 2014; it is the maximum number of deaths in a year in the history of football. (A visualisation of deaths in football)
The Boxing seems to be quite dangerous where the games between two players is known as a fight. There were professional boxers from 80 countries who took part in the last summer Olympics in London. There have been 32 fatal incidents in boxing since 1950. (A visualisation of deaths in Boxing)
There are about 72 countries who take part in mega events of Ice Hockey and since 1950, there have been 12 professional players died due to infield incidents. (A visualisation of deaths in Ice Hockey)Wrestling is also a game based on fight. In last London Olympics, there were 71 countries who took part in different categories of wrestling. There have been 13 professional wrestlers who died in a ring or injured in a ring and passed away later. (A visualisation of deaths in Wrestling and Baseball)
According to the Formula one official website there have been 79 fatal incidents since 1950, but on Wikipedia there were 51 cases registered with full detail. The drivers form 31 countries take part in the mega events. Fortunately, the trend of fatal incidents has been declining in last decade. (A visualisation of deaths in Formula 1)
In the game of cricket the ball is very hard . It’s very risky for a batsman to face a short-pitch ball (bouncer) delivers by a bowler at the speed of around 100 miles per hour. The material of the ball is also a concern for a batsman and fielders. Although, they use a lot of protections to safeguard their body parts, but the rate of injuries is still on the rise. In all cases of mortalities, the victims have protected their body parts with guards; unfortunately, the ball proved to be a bullet for them. The ICC should introduce some new rules and laws to limit the fast bowlers in the term of bouncers. The shape of the helmet is not protecting the batsman and closing fielders. The cricket should not be a dangerous game, and a ball should not be considered to be like a bullet. It’s quite interesting that reigning world champion India has never produced a genuine fast bowler (bowling speed above 150 Km /h). They have always produced legendary batsmen or spin bowlers. In the history of ODIs (One day international) all double centuries scored by an individual are on Indian soil. Four out of six top runs chase in ODIs are also happened in Indian wickets. Indian pitches are Paradise for the batsmen and they feel free to score a lot of runs freely without having a fear of being injured.There have never been a death incident in India or no Indian bowler was ever involved in such fatal incident. If it is all due to Indian style flat pitches then International cricket council should also take in consideration to flatten the pitches in other countries to bring more safety for the players. The safety of Umpire should also be a matter. Unlike baseball, cricket umpires stand directly across from the batsman right next to where the bowler releases the ball — and without any protective gear. ICC should take some serious measure to prove that cricket is not only a gentleman game but also a gentle and safe as well. ICC cricket world cup will be played in Feb, 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. Australian’s pitches are known to be lethal for batsmen.