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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Will Pucovski floored by a bouncer ~ and talks about Nov 2014 Sheffield Shiled match at Sydney


Do you remember that Sheffield Shield  match at Sydney, in Nov 2014 – for which the scorecard would officially read ‘Match drawn’  with South Australia at 136/2 Vs New South Wales and one particular player eternally struck at 63* !!  ~ this post is about 20 year old Will Pucovski and another bowler !!


It would easier recalling Jan 2018 -  3rd  Test  at Johannesburg, (Test no. 2294) between India and South Africa – day 3 score card reading :   India 187 & 247 / South Africa 194 & 17/1* - chasing a target of 241.  When play halted in unnatural manner – at close on day 3 :  South Africa required another 224 runs with 9 wickets remaining – One cannot imagine a Test India playing 5 fast bowlers – Bhuvi Kumar, Jasprit Bumra, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya.  Closer to the end as SA lost Markram, at 8.3 – Bumrah pitched one short to Dean Elgar.  Elgar had been unsteady;  struck more than a couple of times on hand and body – painful blows.  This time the rising delivery hit him on the helmet, on the grille to be precise – he was writhing with pain.  Physio ran in – play stopped for a while as he was attended to – meantime the Umpires had a chat – in came the Match Referee too – the two Captains were called – the Captains were seen with their Coaches – and, and the two captains headed  into the referee's room.

Injuries on Cricket field are nothing new ~  way back in 1975, when Lankans were minnows in World Cup -   Australians piled on 328 for 5. In reply, Sri Lanka reached 150 for 2 in the 32nd  over, up with the clock and fighting hard. Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson wanted to be different when they could not dislodge the wickets ! - Sunil Wettimuny and Duleep Mendis were repeatedly struck on the body, with Thomson, steaming in from the Pavilion End, causing the most damage. Both batsmen were hit, but Mendis was laid out by a ball Alan Gibson in the Times described as "not a bouncer but a short ball aimed at the body". "I hit this bloke on the head," Thomson explained. "They were only little fellas so you couldn't call it a bouncer exactly." Mendis was knocked out and fell down as if shot and, according to Thomson, as he was brought round, muttered: "Oh my God, I'm going" - a comment which he vehemently denies making - and left the field for hospital while Thomson was roundly booed.   The noise grew in Thomson's next over when he floored Wettimuny, who had already been hit sickening blows on the legs and body. In the previous over he had been struck on the instep, after which Thomson had offered a sympathetic observation. "Look, it's not broken, you weak bastard. But if you're down there next over, it will be."  Thomson is quoted as saying  that, egged on by his team-mates, he picked up the ball and threw down the stumps at the striker's end with the distressed batsmen out of his ground. "I jumped up and appealed," Thomson said. "No other bastard moved. They all sat or stood there with their arms folded. They'd done me stone cold." "Wettimuny limped most of the way off," "but had to be picked up before he reached the pavilion." Both men were taken to hospital.

For India at Sabina Park 1976 was more nastier experience ! ~ the bloodbath.   Five Indian batsmen were absent hurt in the second innings.   Michael Holding and Wayne Daniel were in the super-fast category, while Bernard Julien and Van Holder weren't far behind. India went into the match in good form - they had made 406 runs (for only four wickets) in the final innings to win the previous Test, at Port-of-Spain - still an all-time Test record. But at Kingston two people retired hurt in their first innings of 306. Aunshuman Gaekwad was hit on the left ear and spent two nights in hospital, while Brijesh Patel had to have stitches after being hit in the mouth (remember that these were pre-helmet days). Neither of them played any further part in the match - and neither did Gundappa Viswanath, who was caught off a ball which broke a finger of his right hand. Bishan Bedi, India's captain, declared before he and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar - two of Test cricket's worst batsmen - had to face the music. India's gentle pace attack couldn't take advantage of the pitch, and West Indies made 391. Then India went in again, without the three injured batsmen. They reached 97 for 5 - 12 ahead - but that was it. Bedi said both he and Chandrasekhar had suffered hand injuries while fielding, and were also unable to bat. All 17 members of India's touring party fielded at some stage during the match - and one of the substitutes, Surinder Amarnath, was carted off to hospital during the game for an appendix operation. West Indies won the match by ten wickets, and won the series 2-1.

All that is history !  ~  Victorian batsman Will Pucovski has been substituted out of the Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales after being hit on the head by a delivery from a fast bowler, who too has made headlines.

Pucovski had to be helped from the field after he was felled by a bouncer on day two of the match at the Junction Oval. The 20-year-old ducked into a short ball from  Sean Abbott and was struck on the side of the helmet, before kneeling on the ground. The bowler and other NSW players quickly went to his aid and signalled to the dressing room for help. Pucovski walked off the oval with assistance a few minutes later, retiring hurt on 4. He was assessed and later substituted from the game under new concussion rules, replaced by all-rounder Dan Christian.

Pucovski has a history of concussion, having missed three months of cricket when struck in the head in his first-class debut last summer. Sean Abbott was visibly distressed after the incident and reportedly needed several minutes to compose himself before he resumed bowling. Victorian captain Aaron Finch, who replaced Pucovski at the crease, went to Abbott to offer his support and encouragement, and the bowler saw out his over.
The New South Welshman was the bowler who struck Phillip Hughes with a bouncer which led to the death of the young batsman in a game at the SCG in that match detailed in the starting para !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Mar 2018.



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