Cricket is believed to be a gentleman’s game however, with the advent of T20 cricket and the rise of competition in the cricket world, there are very few gentlemen left in the world of cricket. The current level of cricket requires the players to be fit. Not only should they be expert in this game but they should also have fitness levels like an athlete.
While the busy schedules of teams has diminished the will of many players to risk their fitness, there have been several instances in the past where players won matches for their team despite suffering a devastating injury. Be it for their respective nations or their respective clubs, these players gave it all they had. Here is a list showcasing the 5 most courageous acts in cricket history.
5 Most courageous acts in cricket history:
1. Anil Kumble bowls with a broken jaw
Undoubtedly, this entry would always come first in the minds of the cricket fans whenever one talks about courageous acts on the cricket field. The former Indian leg-spinner, Anil Kumble bowled for the country in a Test match against West Indies at Antigua despite breaking his jaw. He also dismissed the Caribbean side’s best batsman then, Brian Lara.
The current coach of Kings XI Punjab pulled off this courageous act in 2002 when India visited the Caribbean islands. The series was tied 1-1 and in the fourth Test, Merv Dillon’s nasty bouncer hit Kumble while he was batting.
He spat out blood yet he continued to bat and later, he dismissed Lara before heading to his home, Bengaluru. After his act, Kumble told the reporters, “At least I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best.”
2. Virat Kohli’s 100 with 9 stitches on his left-hand
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had never won the IPL heading into the 2016 season and the team’s captain, Virat Kohli was in red hot form. Despite his magnificent performances, the team could not perform well in the first half of the season. It seemed like the same old story of the franchise crashing out early will repeat once again.
However, Kohli reversed his team’s fortunes with a career-defining knock against Kings XI Punjab in a do-or-die match. The game was curtailed to 15 overs a side because of rain.
Still the RCB posted 211 runs on the board. Kohli, who had nine stitches on his left hand scored his fastest IPL hundred to lead his side from the front. The right-handed batsman had suffered this injury while attempting a catch against Kolkata Knight Riders. He guided RCB to the finale that year and fell short of the coveted trophy by a whisker.
3. Ross Taylor’s career best knock
New Zealand’s veteran top order batsman, Ross Taylor played the best ODI knock of his career in a match against England in Dunedin. The visitors had taken a 2-1 lead in the series heading into the fourth ODI and Taylor suffered a thigh injury during that match. The Kiwi batsman did not give up and limped his way to 181*.
England posted a mammoth score of 335 runs on the board and New Zealand had to win the game to keep the series alive. Although he was not 100 percent fit, Taylor continued to bat and took his home with three balls to spare.
He remained unbeaten till the end as he slammed 17 fours and six sixes in the match. Kane Williamson billed this as one of the greatest one-day knocks ever while the man himself was quoted as follows after the match, “I was glad I made the decision to stay out there and swing.”
4. Graeme Smith bats with a broken hand
Another instance of a captain risking it all for the sake of his team is from the Test series between Australia and South Africa played in 2008-09. It was the New Year’s Test in Australia as Sydney hosted the South African team. The hosts won this match by 103 runs but the game will always be remembered for South African skipper Graeme Smith‘s will power.
After the Aussies scored 445 runs in the first innings, Smith came out to bat along with Neil McKenzie in the first innings. Smith scored 30 runs but he soon retired hurt as he injured his upper limb. South Africa was set to lose the match in the second innings as in pursuit of 376 runs, the team was 257/9 when Dale Steyn lost his wicket.
No one expected Smith to come out as the Proteas had sealed the series but still he took the risk and batted while his bottom hand was broke. Ultimately, South Africa lost the match by 103 runs. Smith was adjudged the Man of the Series.
5. Joe Root juggles between hospital and cricket field
It was the final Test match of the 2017-18 Ashes series and the English captain, Joe Root was rushed to the hospital because of a viral gastroenteritis bug. The reports mentioned that the skipper suffered from severe dehydration, diarrhoea and vomiting overnight. He was unbeaten on 42 the night before this happened.
With England already 0-3 down in the series, Root had the onus of saving the fifth Test match for his team. Although he did not come out to bat on day 2, he walked in after the dismissal of Moeen Ali.
Root battled through all his troubles to score 83 runs and take his team to a score of 346 runs. He even bowled 8 overs in the first innings. The England captain recorded another fifty in the second innings before he retired ill. England lost that game by an innings and 123 runs and, Root won everyone’s respect.
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