Warner unsettled after bowler knocked down in net accident

June 8, 2019

LONDON (AP) — Seeing a young net bowler struck on the head by a flying leather ball and taken away to a hospital has unsettled Australia opener David Warner on the eve of a Cricket World Cup game against India.

Warner was practicing in the nets at the Oval in south London on Saturday when he played a shot back toward the bowling group. One of the bowlers, Jaykishan Plaha, a volunteer from a local club, fell to the ground after being hit on the head and needed quick medical attention.

Australia's practice session was suspended for at least 15 minutes and the young bowler was treated on the scene before being carried to an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment.

Australia captain Aaron Finch, who opens the batting with Warner, said the bowler was recovering well and "seems to be in pretty good spirits."

"But yeah, Dave was pretty shaken up, no doubt," Finch said. "It was a decent hit to the head. Yeah, hopefully everything keeps going well for the youngster and he's back up and running shortly. It was tough to watch."

Warner is one of the hardest-hitting batsmen and aggressive fielders in the game, but is very sensitive to injuries on the playing or practice field.

He was playing in an interstate game against his friend Phillip Hughes when the former test batsman was fatally struck on the head by a short-pitched ball in November 2014. Warner, who had played with Hughes for Australia and for New South Wales, was fielding close and was among the first people to respond when Hughes slumped to the ground.

He died later in a Sydney hospital. Warner admitted being deeply affected by his friend's death, which sparked a raft of regulations about player welfare.

Safety can be a potential issue for anyone not watching carefully when a 156-gram (5 ½-ounce) leather ball is being bowled or hit in or around temporary practice nets.

Finch said while it's rare for somebody to get hit in that situation, he was glad medical staff were quickly there to treat the young bowler.

"Our own medical staff, doctor and physio and also the medical staff, paramedics at the ground, did a great job in being there very quickly to assess and make sure that all the right protocols and right processes were put in place," he said.

An umpire was killed after being hit by a ball during a game in 2014, and there have been other deaths in the game that has been played for centuries.

Finch was asked about the possibility of regulating for players to wear helmets when they're bowling in the nets, as some high-profile cricketers have suggested.

"That could be a decent idea," Finch said. "Again, it's a bit like everything; it's such a personal preference for net bowlers, and we're very lucky to have so many of them come in and want to bowl to us and help us prepare as best we can for the game.

"But I think it's going to be a personal preference."

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