On Thursday, in an extremely scary moment, Andre Russell was stretchered off the field after being struck bang on the head by a Hardus Viljoen bouncer.
Ever since the tragic death of Phil Hughes, there have been growing concerns over safety in Cricket and recent incidents involving Steve Smith and Priyam Garg have brought the issue to the fore once again. And yet again, on Thursday, in an extremely scary moment, Andre Russell was stretchered off the field after being struck bang on the head by a Hardus Viljoen bouncer.
Of late, there have been serious questions and heated debates over safety in cricket. Last month, Steve Smith fell flat on the ground after being struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer and days later, Indian youngster Priyam Garg was rushed to the hospital after being struck on the neck while fielding at forward short-leg. To everyone’s relief, both escaped without any harm, but again, that does not put an end to the growing concerns of safety.
In the Caribbean Premier League match between Jamaica Tallawahs and St Lucia Zouks on Thursday, there was yet another extremely disturbing incident which left both the players and fans in shock. Batting first on an extremely good wicket, the Tallawahs led by Gayle got off to a brisk start thanks to opener Glenn Phillips and were looking to boost their total in excess of 200.
Walking in to bat at No.6 was Andre Russell and with just over 7 overs left, it seemed like a tailor-made situation for the all-rounder to explode. After playing two dots in his first two deliveries, the pressure seemed to get to Russell. Sensing this, on just his third delivery, South African pacer Hardus Viljoen directed a bouncer towards the body of the Jamaican. Russell, who was taken aback by the delivery, tried to pull/hook it towards deep mid-wicket whilst being in no position to play the shot, almost crouching in the process.
Unfortunately, he completely ended up missing it and the ball struck him on the back of his head in full force. The West Indian was instantly floored by the impact and for a good few seconds, he lay on the ground unmoved. Everyone on the ground – including the bowler – rushed to check on him to see if he was hurt. Thankfully, after a few seconds, the 31-year-old got up and while he still looked dazed, it did seem like he was not seriously hurt.
Russell was then forced to leave the field but as he tried to walk away, he was stopped and was stretchered off the field with a brace to his neck. Thankfully, further scans revealed that there was no serious damage, despite him not wearing a neck guard. This was a really scary incident indeed, and one can only hope that we don’t see any more occurrences of the same in the near future or perhaps ever.