A bouncer from England fast-bowler Peter Lever effectively ended the first rest against New Zealand in Auckland on Tuesday (25 February) when it deflected off batsman Ewan Chatfield's gloves and struck the New Zealand player on the temple, knocking him unconscious and fracturing his skull.
GV Lever bowling bouncer to Chatfield who falls to ground as other players gather round (2 shots)
LV AND GV Chatfield being attended to on pitch and lifted on to stretcher and carried away
Initials CL/2308 CL/2317
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Background: A bouncer from England fast-bowler Peter Lever effectively ended the first rest against New Zealand in Auckland on Tuesday (25 February) when it deflected off batsman Ewan Chatfield's gloves and struck the New Zealand player on the temple, knocking him unconscious and fracturing his skull.
Chatfield's heart stopped beating for several seconds after the incident, and he was given frantic heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by England assistant manager Bernard Thomas and a local ambulance man. The New Zealand player was taken to hospital, where he recovered consciousness an hour later. Doctors kept the injured player under observation for 24 hours, and described his progress as satisfactory.
The incident brought to an end New Zealand's second innings, leaving England the victor by an innings and 83 runs.
It was the second time in past-war cricket that a batsman has been seriously injured by a fast-bowled bouncer. In Barbados in 1962, Nari Contractor -- opening batsman for an Indian touring side -- suffered a fractured skull after being hit by a ball from fast-bowler Charlie Griffith. Contractor never played in first-class cricket for India again.
The incident has raised serious questions about the advisability of playing bouncers, and has led to a call for batsmen and close fielders to wear protective hats to replace the traditional soft cap. New protective metal or fibre-glass hats have been introduced in baseball in recent months, and have cut down considerably the number of dangerous head injuries suffered by players.