Israeli umpire dies after being struck by ball
An Israeli umpire was killed when he was struck by a ball during a league game in the port city of Ashdod, just south of Tel Aviv. The incident comes even as the cricket world mourns the passing of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes this week from head injuries after being struck by a ball.
During the league game in Ashdod, after the ball was hit by the batsman, it ricocheted off the stumps and struck the umpire, Hillel Awasker. Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted medics who tried to resuscitate Awasker as saying that he suffered a heart attack after being hit by the ball. Awasker was taken to hospital in a critical condition, and medics were unable to revive him.
Awasker, 55, was a former captain of the Israel team, and had represented Israel in six ICC trophies since 1982. His last matches for Israel were in division two of the European Championships in 2006. A left-arm spinner and hard-hitting top-order batsman, he had the local league record for the highest score, 244 not out, scored for the Ashdod A side.
Awasker held a degree in Business Administration, and was married with two daughters.
"The cricket family bows its head over the passing of Hillel. This is a tragedy for his family and for cricket in Israel," Naor Gudkar, CEO of the Israeli Cricket Association, was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post. "This is a one-in-a-million accident. It happened a few days ago to an Australian player and I don't know how it has arrived at our doorstep.
"I'm sure world cricket will look into what happened last week and we will also investigate the incident, but I'm not sure there was anything we could have done as we act according to all the rules and regulations."
The ICC sent out a release offering its condolences to Awasker's family and friends, calling him "a central figure in Israel cricket for many years, well-liked and well-respected throughout the local cricket community."