Umpire Paul Reiffel had to come off the field and was sent to hospital for a scan after a throw from deep square leg hit him on the back of his head during the first day of the Mumbai Test between India and England.
The England medical team looked after the 50-year-old Reiffel in the middle as he collapsed from the blow. Play was held up for 10 to 12 minutes after Reiffel was hit shortly before the scheduled afternoon drinks break. Marais Erasmus, the third umpire, took Reiffel’s place as the on-field umpire.
It helped that there was an understudy for the third umpire: C Shamshuddin, who has stood in ODIs was at the ground to train local umpires on the DRS. Shamshuddin, better versed with DRS protocols than the fourth umpire Nitin Menon, moved into the TV umpire’s seat.
The incident took place in the 49th over when Keaton Jennings worked R Ashwin past the square-leg umpire Reiffel. From three-fourths of the way to the fence, Bhuvneshwar Kumar lobbed a throw back in for Cheteshwar Pujara, who stood between Reiffel and the stumps. The throw didn’t have enough behind it, Pujara seemed to warn Reiffel late, leaving him time only to duck. Had Reiffel stood upright the ball might have glanced the top of his head; now it hit the sensitive area at the back of the head.
The fortunate part was that the throw was just a lob but Reiffel quickly fell to the ground. The other umpire Bruce Oxenford, who wears an arm guard in limited-overs cricket, rushed to provide Reiffel shade with his hat. The England physio and doctor rushed out immediately, and gave him basic tests. Reiffel walked conscious, and with the help of the England medical staff before it was decided that he would be taken to a nearby hospital for further tests.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.