Mushfiqur Rahim released from hospital after bouncer scare

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim was released from hospital after being admitted for precautionary tests when he was for struck on the head by a bouncer on the final day of the first cricket test against New Zealand on Monday.

A team spokesman said he was suffering mild concussion.

Mushfiqur was taken to hospital shortly before lunch when he was being struck on the back of the helmet as he tried to duck under a low bouncer from New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee. He knelt, then collapsed to the ground near the pitch and lay motionless for almost 20 minutes as he received treatment from paramedics and team medical staff.

There were fears Mushfiqur had suffered a more serious injury but after arriving at Wellington Hospital, only about 100 meters from the Basin Reserve where the match was being played, he was able to get word to his teammates that he was feeling better. He asked that his family in Bangladesh be informed that he was well.

Mushfiqur was able to rejoin his team after precautionary tests and in time for the end of the match, which New Zealand won by chasing down its winning target of 217 runs, thanks to an unbeaten century by captain Kane Williamson.

”I’m feeling much better. Things could have been worse,” Mushfiqur said. ”Luckily I escaped. There is a bit of pain there but hopefully I’ll get through.”

Mushfiqur was 13 not out and had batted 80 minutes with a broken finger against a barrage of short-pitched bowling from New Zealand before he was struck by Southee. He was unable to bat again in the innings and is in doubt for the second test which starts at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday.

Bangladesh team media manager Rabeed Imam said it was unclear when Mushfiqur might be fit to play again.

Bangladesh media manager Rabeed Imam said the captain would be cautious about when he can play again.

”There is a mild concussion so the physio and medical team will take it slowly with Mushfiq and observe him regularly over the next few days, and maybe then if the situation permits, get him back into playing,” he said.

”There is a mild concussion, so the physio and medical team will take it slowly with Mushfiq and observe him regularly over the next few days, and maybe then if the situation permits, get him back into playing.”

Although serious injuries are uncommon in cricket, any hits to the head are treated extremely seriously.

In November 2014, the Australian test cricketer Phillip Hughes died after he was struck on the neck by a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott during a Sheffield Shield first class match between South Australia and New South Wales.

Hughes collapsed and died in hospital two days later without regaining consciousness.

An inquest into his death exonerated Abbott and the umpires but recommended the use of newer-model batting helmets which provide greater protection to a batsman’s head and neck.

Williamson later defended New Zealand’s use of constant short-pitched bowling against an already-injured batsman.

”It’s a tactic to get players out,” he said. ”It is very unfortunate when you see someone get hurt. It’s obviously a delicate place and both teams were very concerned when it happened.

”You never like to see someone in an ambulance on a cricket field, but (it’s) nice to see he’s okay now.”

Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal said the touring team had no complaints about New Zealand’s use of the bouncer.