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Monday, December 1, 2014

As Cricket mourns Phil Hughes - an Umpire too died on field ... !

In Cricket, the Umpire holds an exalted position – he stands in the best position to watch and judge and his decision is final [forget the referrals !] – in yesteryears, the crowds would come alive, the moment they can sight the two gentleman taking that walk to the middle.  A good Umpire has to see the bowler’s delivery stride, checking whether he is overstepping, follow the ball to decide on whether it would otherwise have disturbed the wicket, takes the edge, whether the ball is caught cleanly, whether it crosses the boundary, whether the fielder’s body is well within when stopping / catching – and when the throw comes in, stands in a position to decide whether stumps are broken before the bat or any part of the body is within the crease !

Sometimes, when the ball is fiercely struck back [mostly lofted shots] – they have to duck or take evasive action swiftly, to avoid getting injured. A Swarup Kishan or somebody with bulky frame doing that often would invite laughter from the crowds. !

The Port of Ashdod is one of Israel's two main cargo ports. The port is located  about 40 kilometers south of Tel Aviv, adjoining the mouth of the Lachish River.  Ashdod  is the fifth-largest city in Israel, on the Mediterranean coast.  Though it had existed for centuries, the modern city of Ashdod was founded in 1956. In May 1956, then finance minister Levi Eshkol approved the establishment of the city of Ashdod. "Ashdod Company Ltd.", a daughter company of City-Builders Company Ltd., was created for that purpose. The first settlers, twenty-two families of immigrants from Morocco arrived in November 1956, and a group of immigrants from Egypt joined them.

The place is in news for wrong reasons – an  umpire at a cricket match in the Israeli city of Ashdod has died after being hit by a ball. Israeli news agencies report that a  batsman's shot struck Hillel Awaskar in the neck, possibly after a ricochet from the stumps at his end of the pitch. The incident occurred  just two days after Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died of a head injury caused by being struck by a ball at a match in Sydney.

Phillip Hughes will forever be 63 not out after the official scorecard for his final match was adjusted by Cricket Australia. Hughes was listed as 'retired hurt' after he was struck on the head and rushed to hospital during the first day of South Australia's match against NSW at the SCG.  The left-hander passed away two days later, leading to an outpouring of grief across the sporting world.  "It might seem like a little thing, but it's an important distinction," said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland. So - "Phillip will forever remain 63 not out."

Getting back – the exalted Umpire do not wear any protective gear – almost 5 years ago, an Umpire at a match in Wales died hit by a throw.  Mr Hilel  was the former captain of the Israeli national cricket team. In what was to be last in the league session in Israel, he was hit, was taken to a city hospital, but medics were unable to revive him.  It is reported that cricket is not a popular sport in Israel, though there is an amateur league largely populated by players from countries such as India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Hillel Awaskar,  is reportedly a person of  Indian-origin.  The batsman had struck hard. The fast ball first hit the stumps, got deflected and hit Awaskar on his neck. He collapsed on the ground,“ one of the players is quoted as saying.  The 55-year-old Awaskar, originally hailed from Mumbai and moved to Israel almost 40 years ago. Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted doctors as saying Awasker suffered a heart attack after being hit by the ball.  The Israeli police has ruled out any foul play in the incident but is still investigating the case.

In July 2009  at Swansea - Alcwyn Jenkins, 72, of Skewen, had his back to fielder Stephen Davies when he threw the ball at the stumps.  After the inquest, it was ruled that he was hit on the head during an attempted run out and was accidental death.   The fielder Davies tried a pick and throw and only later realised that the Umpire was in the way. Mr Jenkins was flown by air ambulance to Swansea's Morriston Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Concluding, England’s captain Alastair Cook stated that the Phillip Hughes tragedy had some impact on their eight-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka in the second one-day international in Colombo.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Dec 2014.

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