They have bowled bouncers since the bodyline series in the 1920s. No one was badly hurt. They didn’t have any helmets.
Modern day helmets have offered some protection, I’m sure, and saved many batsmen who were hit, but when there were no helmets, there were no recorded deaths. Batsmen knew to keep their head out of the way of the ball.
The problem is that the organisers of world cricket decided to change the helmet recently to ‘make them easier to wear’, whatever that means.
These are the killers of Phillip Hughes, giving him a piece of equipment, telling him he can rely on it for his protection, after redesigning it so it’s not safe.
The media wanted to see more profile of the batsman’s face to deliver more spectacle, so they reduced the sides of the helmet, and crucially removed the V section that used to angle back behind the ear, and which took the cage lower on the neck. Looking at these pictures, the older helmets would most likely have saved Phillip’s life. The ball went only just outside the wire of the new helmet. The old style helmet went down lower on the neck.
It looked as if Phillip fell dead on the pitch. The doctor almost said as much in the clip below.
The old type cricket helmet which better protected the side of the neck. The V design holding the frame travelled backwards from the lip of the ‘hat’ so that very little side of neck was visible to the ball. The ball that killed Phillip hit him just under the ear. The old helmet would have saved him. The question has to be asked – who decided to get rid of it?
And why was it got rid of?
Money talks. Safety had been sacrificed for style and a top batsman has paid the price of the deception being practised on all cricketers that the new helmets are just as safe as the old ones. You might wonder even, if the decision was made to make the game more dangerous. They want people to think death is just a part of the way things are in all walks of life, so their wars don’t seem so bad. That idea sounds unlikely but how else can you explain the deliberate removal of what they must realise is crucial defence for a batsman facing top level fast bowling?
There will be no mention of the culpability of the games’ organisers in public of course, but it is they and their media friends who’ve allowed such lethal circumstances to be brought about. The message is – don’t trust the organisers of sport. Don’t trust media. Don’t trust regulators. Only trust your own judgement. If the team managers says only unsafe helmets are permitted, then the players should refuse to play.
Mike Brierley, one of Britain’s best ever captains, took no risks with his team, here in an earlier style of visor.
Style has taken over from safety since.
The wire cage design won against perspex which tended to steam up.
From Aldous –
Here’s a good article with illustrations on this tragic event. The video is unavailable on the first link and seems to have been pulled from every Australian news source but is available on You Tube and
(video number 7 at time of posting) along with some other informative videos.
Phillip Hughes’ freak accident explained
Video: Phil Hughes Death – Doctors Explain His Fatal Head Injury 4:15
The fact that Vale Philip Hughes RIP was a left hander put him at particular risk (exposing the critical left hand side of the neck) when attempting a stroke at a rising bouncer but then (crucially) missing the ball.
TAP – about one in four top batsmen are left-handed. The batsman would concentrate on getting out of the way if he didn’t trust his helmet to save him when he misses.
Bouncers are part of the game of cricket, although some minor clubs do have their own rules such as a no-ball being called if bowled above shoulder height and a wide given if the ball is above head height. However these are local/village cricket green rules and not the rules of cricket.
A top flight batsman with necessarily superb eyesight and reactions can easily elect to just dodge a bouncer that is obviously going to miss the wicket and many choose to do this if they are not certain about a good strike – although many runs (and victories) can be made from such a bowled ball which is clearly not going to hit the wicket and which can be hit well above the waiting hands of the fielders, be they wicket keeper, slip, third man, silly mid on, long leg, etc.
I’ve watched the video and stills of the incident and there is no doubt in my mind that Phil Hughes made an error of judgement in choosing to play the ball and most crucially in missing it. By a one in a million chance he presented the unprotected left hand side of his neck that the ball just hideously happened to find. The moment the vertebral artery was so violently compressed, damaged and almost immediately ruptured, it really was game over and Phil Hughes effectively died at the moment he collapsed and stopped breathing, the resulting damage to the brain being catastrophic.
I can’t see the rules being changed at all – Phil Hughes wouldn’t want that I’m sure – but there is definitely a case for a serious look at protecting this particularly vulnerable part of the neck, with say, a flexible pad or something. I’m not sure attempting to redesign the helmet to protect the neck is the way forward (or even possible) as the batsman needs to be able to both move and see with minimum restriction.
We also need to spare a thought for bowler Sean Abbot who must be going through hell, although the Hughes family and everyone else has rallied behind him as he is quite clearly not to blame in any way.
Maybe the now forever young Phil Hughes would enjoy this little cricket gem. It may not be entirely appropriate at this time but life and cricket will go on and that’s how it should be and what everyone affected and touched by this tragedy would undoubtedly want. It’s also a stark reminder if one was ever needed that ‘tomorrow is promised to no one’ and ‘live life to the full – like Phil Hughes did – and live each day as if it was going to be your last because one day it will be.
Funny Rules Of Cricket – In & Out
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.
Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.
When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game! (attributed: Leslie Crowther)