Death in any team sport comes as a shock and the 25th of this month marked Phil Hughes Anniversary from that terrible accident. I feel for the bowler that delivered the ball as it was never done intentionally to harm anyone. A bowler bowls a short ball to make the batsmen feel uncomfortable, but never to hurt him. Some news articles in the past tried to make out it was done on purpose and that is just wrong. You may say some things, but it is never intentional.
Douggie Bollinger was the unfortunate bowler who delivered the fateful ball and what is sad is he lost a team mate, but he must have lost something as well. I don't care what other people might say as you will never want that to happen again. It was a freak ball that missed the helmet and struck just below the left ear. Phil died two days later in intensive care from a brain hemorrhage.
This was a freak accident showing up that the helmet didn't offer total protection. This is not the first time as I have seen balls make their way through the grill and lodge against the batsmens face. This could actually do more harm as the full impact is then felt and the ball remains in place. Thankfully the helmets are all standardised with international standards today and this doesn't happen. Helmets have been around for years but were never taken that seriously by players for the first decade or so.
Virtually the same spot where Phil was hit. Steve Smith was very lucky.
After the tragic accident of Phil Hughes helmets had the extra option that could be added on to protect areas that Phillip was hit in. This is not compulsory though and is still quite rare to see batsmen wearing these added on bits.
Ben Stokes has the extra bit added but it shows you the different manufacturers are not the same
Batsmen today do not have the reflexes that batsmen had 20 or 30 years ago and that is a fact. The wickets back in the 60's and 70's were uncovered and open to the elements. This led to variable bounce and nothing was exactly as it should have been. Today wickets are fairly predictable and very few games have been abandoned for fear of players safety. Pitches have to conform to a set standard and if they don't that ground could lose it's playing status which is too much money to lose.
In Australia they use drop in pitches for test matches where a pitch is grown off site and bought in so it is at a set standard. This has taken away from certain grounds being known to offer various things and I personally don't like this. Some grounds are known for pace and bounce and that is what people want to see. Players need to be challenged and if it means wearing all the protective clothing then so be it.
Bowlers are trying to break the 110 mph speed record and some have come close and I am sure with the steroids in sport that can't be detected we will see it sooner than later. I don't think it is physically possible without them as we have had decades of fast bowlers hovering around the 100 mph mark.