Australian players' concern for Umesh Yadav after he's hit on the head shows Phillip Hughes' death remains frighteningly memorable

The death of Phillip Hughes last year remains a haunting memory any time a player is hit in the head

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The Independent Online

Australia’s run to the Cricket World Cup final has been defined by their aggression and take-no-prisoners attitude displayed since coach Darren Lehmann took over, with a revival of cricket Down Under set to be capped if they can secure victory on Sunday morning against rivals New Zealand.

Should they do so, the win will no doubt be used to pay tribute to their former team-mate Phillip Hughes, who tragically died in November last year after being struck on the back of the neck by a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott.

While the game has done its best to move on from those horrifying days after the accident while remembering Hughes, it was clear that the effects of Hughes’ tragedy remain on the game.


Australian bowler Mitchell Starc was tasked with cleaning up the Indian tail with the reigning champions down and out on 233-9. Umesh Yadav was the unlucky man to come to the crease and was soon on his way back as Starc clinched victory, but there was a worrying moment before his dismissal when a ball struck the Indian on the back of the head.

Luckily, the ball hit the bottom of Yadav’s helmet, though he was clearly shaken up by the blow as he took a moment to gather his breath. Immediately, Australia captain Michael Clarke can be seen to gesture in a manner of concern, and he rushes to Yadav to check whether he’s ok.

Yadav is hit on the head by a Starc bouncer

Starc appears to apologise for hitting Yadav on the head

Yadav takes a moment to recover from the blow

Maxwell, Starc, Clarke and Finch check on Yadav

Clarke’s soon joined by Starc as well as opener Aaron Finch and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, and once Yadav had given the green light that he was ok, play was able to continue. Not long after, Starc got his man and the Australians were able to celebrate reaching their seventh World Cup final, but while the bowler could be criticised for bowling such a bouncer at the end of an innings that clearly wasn’t going to challenge Australia’s total, but it’s undoubtedly a positive to see the compassionate side remaining in the game.

Too often spats between players dominate games of cricket, with Australia’s recent Test series against India being dominated by bad blood and confrontations between the two sides which ran over to the ODI series that saw David Warner tell Rohit Sharma to “speak English” when the two had a dispute.

Mitchell Starc celebrates the wicket of Umesh Yadav

Cricket should be played with an aggressive edge – some of the best scenes have come in recent years when both sides have been on edge – yet showing concern for an opponent’s health is a reassuring sight and should not be criticised, otherwise we may as well take the bouncer out of the game completely.