Umpire Paul Reiffel, who ‘retired hurt’ while officiating on Day One of the fourth Test between India and England at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, will not stand in the match anymore. (LIVE SCORECARD)
Paul Reiffel, a former Australia fast bowler, was stationed at square leg when the ball thrown by Bhuvneshwar Kumar from deep square leg hit him on the back of the head. the ICC umpire fell onto the ground from the impact and received treatment from the England team’s physiotherapist and doctor.
Although Reiffel sat up, he was visibly shaken from the impact and left the field for further medical attention. On Friday, day 2 of the India vs England Test at Wankhede, the 50-year-old did not come out to officiate. He will not be seen anymore in this game, allowing the Aussie time to recover for the fifth Test scheduled in Chennai from December 16.
On Thursday, ICC match referee Jeff Crowe sent in third umpire Marais Erasmus as replacement. The new umpire was welcomed onto the field with a loud cheer as play started after a 10-minute break. Reserve umpire Nitin Menon was given the responsibility of third umpire. A few overs later, it was almost a repeat as umpire Bruce Oxenford had to quickly get out of the line after a throw from Umesh Yadav came towards his direction.
Marais Erasmus will be coming on to replace Paul Reiffel #INDvENG— BCCI (@BCCI) December 8, 2016
Reiffel was then taken to the Breach Candy hospital where doctors have given him a clean chit. He is medically fit to take to the ground again and is likely to officiate on Day 2.
While Reiffel’s injury turned out to be a non-serious one, the crowd, officials and players at the stadium had their hearts in their mouth when the ball hit the umpire, that too at the back of the head.
Ever since the tragic death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, who was hit by a Sean Abbott bouncer while playing in a Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25, 2014, the cricketing world has been very careful and serious about head injuries on the playing field. Hughes, 25, died in the hospital two days later.
There have been discussions and attempts at curbing or banning the bouncer altogether, while research has been initiated to improve the safety features of a batsman’s helmet.
Last month, another Australian cricketer, Adam Voges, was carried from the field after being hit on the head by a bouncer. He was later diagnosed with concussion. Voges fell to the ground after the incident the impact, again during a Sheffield Shield clash at the WACA in Perth.
Reiffel’s injury could have been worse as the umpire practically had no protection to keep him safe from the impact.