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Cricketers who resumed playing for their team despite horrific injuries

Such instances when cricketers showed courage by braving horrific injuries and resumed playing. This is the beauty of sport.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 18.04.2018
Cricketers with horrific injuries during match | Sports Social Blog

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Recently we have witnessed MS Dhoni suffered a lower back injury while running between the wickets but Dhoni continued to play and single-handedly got the job almost done against Kings XI Punjab. This is the beauty of sport. When mind dominates over body and player keep on playing even under horrific injuries.

Looking back I get such instances when cricketers showed courage by braving horrific injuries and resumed playing.


#1 Bert Sutcliffe: South Africa vs New Zealand:

The Tangiwai test, Boxing Day 1953, The second test, at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, started on 24 December and commenced, after a day off for Christmas, on Boxing Day. As New Zealand began its first innings on the morning of the 26th, chasing South Africa’s 271, a distraught Blair remained at the team hotel and was not expected to play.

On a lively pitch, Bert Sutcliffe and Lawrie Miller were both forced to retire hurt after being hit by bouncers from the fiery fast bowler Neil Adcock; John Reid was struck five times before being dismissed for three. With the visitors reduced to 81 for 6, Sutcliffe returned to the crease, his forehead swathed in bandages. When the ninth wicket fell at 154, the players began to leave the field. Suddenly the crowd stood in silence as Blair emerged from the tunnel and was greeted by Sutcliffe, who placed a comforting arm around his shoulder. What followed was sensational as the pair smashed 25 runs (including four sixes – three by Sutcliffe and one by Blair) off a single over from South Africa’s Hugh Tayfield. By the time Blair was dismissed, the team’s total had climbed to 187, with Sutcliffe 80 not out.

This match is often considered as one of the most emotional cricket match of all time. South Africa won the match easily, but Sutcliffe’s courage has gone down as a part of cricketing folklore.

#2 Colin Cowdrey: England vs West Indies:

Lord’s witnessed one of the greatest days of cricket ever on June 25, 1963. On Day Four, with the match in the balance and England 31 for  three, Wes Hall bowled a typically thunderous delivery that struck Colin Cowdrey on his arm. There was a sickening sound that everyone present knew meant doom. Cowdrey’s arm was broken, and he would be unable to continue.

Despite a broken arm while facing Wes Hall, he strode out to bat and saved the match for the hosts against a world class attack.

#3 Malcolm Marshall :West indies  vs England

In the context of West Indies cricket and the kind of crisis their Test team is in, the players would find it apt to draw inspiration from Malcolm Marshall's heroics in 1984. Headingley was the venue for the third Test between the West Indies and England. The visitors came to Leeds having gained a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

England won the toss and elected to bat first. Against the fearsome attack comprising of Holding, Marshall and Garner, English batsmen put up a decent total of 270 and received more good news when Marshall got injured, his left thumb broken at two places.

In response, the Windies were in some sort of trouble, losing six wickets for 206. But then the team found a hero in the diminutive Larry Gomes. The southpaw played a valiant knock, and his century helped his team to go past the 300-run mark.

But his innings was overshadowed by the gritty gesture from Marshall. The tailender walked out to bat with a plaster around his arm, just to help Gomes, who was on 96, reach the three figures mark. He batted one-handed and on top of it, he even smashed a boundary.

Marshall was the last man out, but to the shock of the England team he not only took field, but opened bowling with Garner. What followed was an astounding display of valour, as Marshall took seven for 53 to blow England away for 159 as West Indies cantered home by eight wickets.

#4 Anil Kumble: West Indies vs India

No Indian can forget Anil Kumble’s embodied grit and determination. The sight of Anil Kumble emerging from the pavilion, ready to bowl, his face bandaged, in the Antigua Test of 2002, is one of cricket's most inspiring.

Batting at No. 7, Kumble was hit by Merv Dillon. He spat out blood but batted on for another 20 minutes. The series was poised 1-1 and this was the fourth Test. India declared at 513 for 9.

No one was expecting Kumble on the field but Kumble’s determination led him to the field with his broken jaw. Kumble sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw. He was due to fly back to Bangalore the following day for surgery, and as he said, "At least I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best.

"It was one of the bravest things I've seen on the field of play," said Viv Richards later.

#5 Gary Kirsten: Pakistan vs South Africa

Got injured badly with a bouncer from the Fastest Shoaib Akhtar but continued batting and made 55. Shoaib Akhtar, bowling around the wicket, dug one in short to the well-set Kirsten. The left-hander looked to pull, but was beaten for pace as the ball smashed his face. Kirsten staggered to his knees as the Pakistan team huddled around him. He had to retire hurt for 53, while x-rays soon revealed that he had a broken nose.

Pakistan was moving towards a comfortable victory as South Africa was restricted for 146 for 4 in their second innings. Kirsten, with a barely recognisable face, walked in to bat and scored 46 runs before getting out as the seventh wicket.

Pakistan eventually won the match by 8 wickets, but Kirsten’s heroic batting remained a talking point for years to come.

See more: Worst cricket injuries

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