You're not going to believe this, but...

Following James Anderson's boxing injury, we look at XI other instances where players found bizarre ways of sidelining themselves

Martin Williamson

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Chris Lewis, the "prat without a hat" © Getty Images
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Chris Lewis
Lewis' career was never dull but he also failed to achieve as much as many had expected. The first signs that all was not well came in the West Indies in 1993-94, when Lewis decided to shave his head on arrival. Nothing wrong there, except that he then opted to practice without a sun hat. Inevitably, he succumbed to the Caribbean sun. "Chris Lewis baldly went where no other cricketer has gone before," noted the Sun, "and the prat without a hat spent two days in bed with sunstroke. Just as you would expect, the ideal covering for an all-rounder suffering from sunstroke, as diagnosed by our own doctor, is… a bowler." Quite.

Arthur Dolphin
During a game against Middlesex at Lord's, Yorkshire wicketkeeper Dolphin fell off a chair in the dressing room as he reached for his clothes and broke his wrist, missing the remainder of the summer. It was a bad month for Yorkshiremen. A team-mate of Dolphin's in that game, Abe Waddington, had been giving Arthur Morton of Derbyshire a ride on his new motorcycle one evening during a match between the two counties when they crashed. Waddington escaped unharmed and resumed the next day. Morton broke ribs and was out for eight weeks, his absence not helping as Derbyshire were bowled out for 23.

Matthew Hayden
Sidelined after breaking a finger at the start of the 2006-07 season, Hayden decided to keep fit by going for a leisurely jog. Unfortunately, while running he was set on by a local dog and had to be taken to hospital with a 5cm gash in his ankle. "It was a vicious attack," he said. "I was just out for a leisurely run. You are always a bit shocked by that sort of thing, but I was more disappointed than anything. It just hasn't been my week."

Ted Dexter
In normal circumstances, being run down by a car would invoke sympathy. Not in Dexter's case, however, because the car was his own. When his Jaguar ran out of petrol on the Great West Road in Brentford in June 1965, Dexter decided to push it to the nearest garage. Unfortunately, he lost control and it ended up pinning him to a factory gate, breaking his right leg. "The hero lay there with blood pouring out of his leg while other drivers rushed by" is how Matthew Engel described the incident.

Ian Greig
Clearly, Greig was not meant to be a housebreaker. On arriving home after the first day of Sussex's Championship match against Kent in June 1983, he snapped his key in the lock. Taking what seemed like the easy option, he then scaled the side of the house to try to climb in through an open window, fell 18 feet and broke an ankle. Four years later, while being X-rayed after being hit on the hand in his third match as Surrey captain, he stood up, banged his head on the machine and had to have two stitches.

Trevor Franklin
One of the most serious of all the accidents here, Franklin was mown down by a motorised luggage trolley at London's Gatwick airport at the end of New Zealand's tour in 1986 (during which he broke a thumb) and suffered multiple fractures of his leg. He was out of the game for 18 months, and when he did return he was handicapped by never being able to run at full speed again. Despite this, and being what Wisden described as "unspectacular but effective", he made a hundred in the Lord's Test four years later. However, when he faced England in 1991-92, he had his forearm broken by David Lawrence.

Jimmy Adams
After 19 hours of negotiations at a London hotel, the 1998-99 West Indies tour of South Africa finally got the go-ahead - at one stage the whole thing looked like being scrapped following a dispute over payments. On the flight to Johannesburg, Adams managed to slice through the tendons of his right hand while cutting some far-from-fresh bread. "There was an announcement seeking the services of a doctor," Dr Ali Bacher, a mediator during the crisis, said. "I answered the call to find Adams lying unconscious with blood pouring out of his hand. A young doctor appeared. She stitched the wound up while I assisted. I gave up being a doctor in 1979." Adams missed the tour, as well as the post-meal coffee. A similar fate befell Mark Boucher in Australia in 2000 when he sliced through his hand rather than meat, forcing Andrew Hall to keep wicket.


Don Topley: a victim of an aggressive letterbox © Cricinfo Ltd
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Don Topley
Journeyman cricketers supplement their income with a variety of jobs in the off season. In Topley's case that meant working as a postman. However, shortly before the start of a new season he tried to post a letter through a door but the spring-loaded letterbox snapped back on his fingers, sending him off to the local Accident and Emergency department.

Bruce French
Proof that when you are having an off day, nothing goes your way. In Lahore during England's wretched 1987-88 tour of Pakistan, French was minding his own business in the nets when he was hit on the head by a throw from a spectator returning a stray ball. He was taken to hospital, where he was struck by a car outside the main entrance. He had his wound stitched without incident, only to crack his head on a low-hanging light fitting as he got up to leave.

Derek Pringle
As he sorted out complimentary tickets for the 1982 Headingley Test, Pringle leaned back on his chair, which collapsed, dumping him on the floor and leaving him with shooting pains between the shoulder blades. The myth soon arose that he had injured himself writing letters, something he attributed to Bernard Thomas. "The Machiavellian little man told the press I'd done my back in writing a letter - presumably his attempt to toughen me up with some cod psychology."

Chris Old
Old was a fine quick bowler who would undoubtedly have achieved more but for his tendency to acquire injuries on the eve of matches. He once pulled out of a Test match when he sneezed and damaged a rib. Frank Keating once wrote of him: "Ask that engaging hypochondriac how he is keeping and the answer, as ever, takes a full half-hour." It was reported that the first bowling machine installed at Lord's was nicknamed Chris Old ... because it kept breaking down so often.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This article was originally published on Cricinfo in February 2007

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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