01. Raman Lamba
Raman Lamba the Indian cricketer didn’t make it that big in the international scene. But he had many fans in the club leagues and several followers in Bangladesh and Ireland, where he found fame. (Picture Credit – bp.blogspot.com) It was in 1998, during a match in Bangladesh playing for club side Abahani Krira Chakra against Mohammedan Sporting, when the Indian was asked to field at forward short leg. This fielding position was to be his undoing. Lamba was asked before he stood at the position if he wanted a helmet but he had refused saying that it would affect his balance and reaction speed and it was for only three balls so he would be alright. He was a very dedicated player. The ball was bowled and the batsman struck it very hard and it went and hit Lamba on the forehead. The batsman was out, when the ball was caught in the rebound, but then as the celebrations just started, it was seen that Lamba did not get up from the ground. After being rushed to the hospital and having surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain, with the consent of his family, his life support machine was turned off and he died at the age of 38. This sad incident brought about a necessity in wearing a helmet for all players playing at that position.
02. Alcwyn Jenkins
We all curse umpire when they get a decision wrong, when they make that error in judgement. Little do we realise the amount of danger in which an umpire puts himself when he sets foot on the ground. The batsman wears protection and so do the wicketkeeper and the close-in fielders. But ever wondered what protection does the Umpire wears? He wears no protection and most of the straighter straight drives, the perfect square cuts and the long throws brush just centimetres away from him. (Picture Credit – Mirror.co.uk) The story of Alcwyn Jenkins is a case in favour of protective clothing for Umpires. Alcwyn Jenkins, 72, was umpiring a league match between Swansea and Llangennech at the St Helen’s ground in Swansea. The widower, from Skewen near Neath, was struck on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder. The fielder had aimed for the stumps but had overestimated the distance and Alcwyn was just in line and it hit him on the side of the head. Efforts were made to resuscitate him, but it had failed. He was pronounced as dead on arrival by the hospital authorities.
03. Mark Boucher
He was a hero to many which included me as well. He was my next favourite keeper after Adam Gilchrist. From hitting one of the fastest one day centuries to taking astonishing catches behind the wicket, he had done it all. A subtle and polite cricketer, he could truly be called as a gentleman of the game. Boucher’s incident happened when a ball from Imran Tahir bowled Gemaal Hussain, with Boucher keeping wicket in a cap rather than a helmet during South Africa’s tour match against Somerset at Taunton in 2012. As the ball hit the stump the bail went up suddenly and hit Mark in the eye. He immediately fell the ground and was helped from the pitch with blood apparently coming from his eye. Boucher was taken to hospital immediately, where he had surgery. After surgery Boucher demanded honesty and, in keeping with his approach to the game, he was given it. He may never see out of that eye again, though the eyeball itself will likely recover and remain. Mark Boucher ended his career on 9th July 2012, 3 days after he arrived in England on the back of his best fitness test results in a decade.
04. Syed Saba karim
Saba Karim broke into One day cricket when he scored a fast half century against a formidable South African opposition in 1996. Before that however he had guided East Zone to victory in the Deodhar trophy. In all he was a pretty accomplished player and most of all he was a wicket keeper who could bat. In those days of late 1990s India was plagued by the problem of a suitable wicketkeeper who could also bat. And Saba Karim seemed to fit the bill. (Pic credit – hindu.com) However his career was cut short by a rising Anil Kumble delivery in the Asia cup in Dhaka. That ball struck him on the right eye off the batsman’s boot. Despite an eye surgery in Chennai and treatment abroad, his eyesight did not show signs of recovery. The wicket-keeper batsman, who made his debut in the Ranji Trophy for Bihar in 1982-83 as a 15-year old, said “I have no option other than calling it a day as my doctor informed me last month that the retina of my right eye had suffered permanent damage”. Thus ended Karim and with him India would struggle for another 5 years until the advent of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
05. Anil Kumble
Ever seen a man who would come out and play just because he didn’t want to sit around? If you have, then you know who I am talking about. It was in 2002, the most inspiring incident took place in a match when India was playing its 4th Test match against West Indies. Though the match ended up in draw, it turned out to be great victory for Anil Kumble’s bravery. (Pic – Indiatoday.com) As the match proceeded Kumble was hit by a Merv Dillon delivery. He spat out blood but struggled on the field to play on for a while. India soon declared at 513 for 9. When it was India’s turn to bowl, Anil Kumble appeared from Pavilion with broken jaw and bandage over his head. Brian Lara was in the field for batting and Kumble bowled for 14 overs continually and finally got him out. Lara stared in disbelief. The greatest man after Tendulkar was dismissed by an injured bowler. The match ended in a draw. The then Indian captain Sourav Ganguly stated in the post-match interview “If only we had Anil we would’ve won the match”. Such was Anil Kumble – the man who did not bow down to injury.