Umpire Ward stable after blow to head
Australian umpire John Ward has been declared stable after being struck on the head by a shot played by Punjab's Brainder Sran on the first day of their Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu in Dindigul.
In the 48th over of the day, Sran, according to a Wisden India report, smashed a full delivery from DT Chandrasekar past the bowler, which pinged Ward's head causing the umpire to drop to the ground. Ward was immediately rushed to the local medical centre before being moved to Apollo Hospital in Madurai, which is about 40 km away from the venue.
While some reports suggested Ward became unconscious following the impact, Dindigul District Cricket Association secretary N Venkataraman denied that was the case. "He wasn't unconscious. After he got hit he fell to the ground, but he stood up and walked up to the ambulance by himself," Venkataraman told ESPNcricinfo.
"He is completely normal. He has a tiny bulge behind the right ear which was identified in the scan. The medical observation, as per BCCI norms, has to be done in a big hospital, so we have shifted him to Apollo Hospitals in Madurai.
"There also we took scans. He is completely alright. Normally, in the event of a head injury, a patient is advised to be under observation for a day or two. He has been advised rest for a minimum of one day."
Venkataraman said Ward would be replaced by Mohammad Raffik, an umpire in the Ranji Trophy panel, for the remainder of the match. "While senior TNCA umpire Gururajan stood in after Ward's injury, Raffik officiated today immediately on his arrival from Madurai.
"BCCI had already posted Pankaj Pandit from Mumbai [as the umpire], but because of cancellation of flights from Mumbai, Rafikk will be continuing tomorrow."
Ward has been officiating in India as part of the umpires exchange programme between BCCI and Cricket Australia. His unfortunate injury bears likeness to a recent incident in Adelaide, where Tom Cotter-Gilles, a spinner for the Southern Stingrays B team in Adelaide Grade competition, was struck behind the ear by a straight drive from Mitchell Marsh.
Arun Venugopal is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo