Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Cricket: Eye smash a reminder of Phil Hughes' death

The photo posted to Mitchell McClenaghan's Twitter account after he was hit in the eye while batting at the Basin Reserve today. Photo / Supplied
The photo posted to Mitchell McClenaghan's Twitter account after he was hit in the eye while batting at the Basin Reserve today. Photo / Supplied

Two words might flash through most cricket fans' minds when they see an incident like Mitchell McClenaghan getting floored by Anwar Ali's bouncer yesterday.

Phil Hughes.

The former Australian test cricketer's death, after taking a blow to the base of the skull in November 2014, still resonates when you see similar acts.

Bowlers have continued using short-pitched bowling as a tactic, and fair enough in a largely batsman's world with big bats, small boundaries, true pitches, powerplay fields and a cache of Twenty20 knowledge.

However, in Hughes' wake comes the condition that they might inflict death on a fellow human.

The brim and grille of a helmet look narrow enough - and a number of players now use protection at the back - but balls are renowned for their perseverance.

Anwar slipped over on his previous delivery before sending the short one down. There was palpable applause and relief when McClenaghan rose from the pitch - cut, bloodied, bruised but alive. Players rushed to his aid, but he walked from the field.

He looked like he'd gone 12 rounds with Joseph Parker, but that's better than getting knocked out with the removal of life support.


McClenaghan went to hospital during the second innings for further assessment and to check for concussion. The stitching of the cut was completed at the ground.

A spokesman for New Zealand Cricket said: "There's a slight fracture above his left eye and he will have some minor cosmetic surgery on Friday in Auckland. He won't play before that."

McClenaghan tweeted after the match: "Thanks for all the concerns. Everything is as good as it can be just a few broken bones. Great win for the boys!"

He will leave the camp today after staying at the team hotel last night. It's unlikely he will take any further part in the series against Pakistan but, if the injury is deemed stable, could be cleared to play Australia.

McClenaghan's innings was a highlight which provided the impetus for New Zealand's win. He made 31 off 18 balls before retiring hurt. Hopefully his confidence remains after such a shock. Some of his stroke-making was sublime. The knock included two pulls for sixes, a loft for four over cover and two scoops to the fine leg boundary. Such decisive lower-order hitting could be handy if he's taken to India for the World T20, where bounce is unlikely to be as plentiful.

McClenaghan and Matt Henry helped rescue New Zealand's innings with a 73-run partnership, a record for the ninth wicket against Pakistan. Henry was left 48 not out from 30 balls.

Adam Milne replaced McClenaghan on the field but couldn't bowl. He contributed by catching Sohaib Maqsood at long leg off a Grant Elliott bouncer.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 Sep 2016 23:08:45 Processing Time: 620ms