One of the brightest prospects for Australia, Phil Hughes died on the field three years ago after taking a serious blow to the head. Have we learned nothing from that unfortunate accident? Sportsmanship struck a new low during the historic Ranji Trophy 2017-18 final which saw Vidarbha triumph for the first time.
The incident happened on Day 4 of the final Test. Vidarbha batsman Akshay Wadkar was batting and Kulwant Khejroliya came round the wicket to Wadkar. Khejroliya banged the ball short which extracted extra bounce from the pitch. Wadkar could not get out of the way in time and took a meaty blow to the helmet.
The right-handed batsman tried to balance himself but fell to the ground. While all this was happening, sportsmanship went for a toss as none of the Delhi players came extended their help or made sure if he was okay. Rishabh Pant & Co changed ends for the next over but no one bothered to ensure if Wadkar was in serious pain or not.
Even the umpire didn’t rush towards the batsman — which is usually the protocol framed by International Cricket Council (ICC) as umpires are the ones who call in medical help in case of a concussion. The non-striker batsman called in for medical help, signalling towards the dressing room.
Here is the video which might make you question the sportsmanship of Delhi players –
While the Ranji Trophy saw Delhi players’ insensitivity and indifference towards these injuries, teams like Australia and England, on the other hand, have shown concern and compassion in such cases.
When Ben Cutting helped John Hastings
Here is the most recent example of sportsmanship in the ongoing T20 Big Bash League 2017-18. John Hastings got struck by a bouncer from Ben Cutting and his helmet came off. Cutting and his teammates checked up on senior Australian player as the hit seemed brutal.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 2, 2018
Here are a few other examples from the oldest rivalry in cricket that saw a few heartwarming moments –
Mitchell Starc is aggressive but not towards players
Mitchell Starc bowled a feisty bouncer to England skipper Joe Root. Despite the rivalry and sledging in the Ashes, Australian players checked up on him as good sportsmanship.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) November 25, 2017
No love lost between two captains
Steven Smith too could not escape a bouncer from Craig Overton. This time Root returned the favour by checking up on him.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 15, 2017
Helmet broken but sportsman spirit stays intact
Nathan Lyon got a wake-up call from Stuart Broad. Again the English bowler checked up on his opponent.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 5, 2017
With such level of sportsmanship being followed on foreign soil, to see something like this at home is deeply saddening. Though there have been examples in the recent past which show the sensitivity of Indian players towards such incidents, certainly, there is room for improvement.
However, Akshay Wadkar had the last laugh as the batsman went on to score a century (133 runs from 264 balls) in the first innings which helped Vidarbha dominate Delhi and take a substantial lead of 252 runs.
As a result, Vidarbha won convincingly by 9 wickets in the end and claimed their maiden Ranji Trophy title.