Israeli Cricket Umpire Dies After Ball Strikes Him in the Chest

The incident comes only days after Australian international cricketer Philip Hughes died after being struck on the neck during a provincial match.

Shirly Seidler
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Players and officials on the Ashdod pitch after the incident.Credit: Lachish police
Shirly Seidler

An Israeli cricket umpire died on Saturday after being hit in the chest by the ball during an amateur league game in Ben Gurion Park in Ashdod.

According to the Magen David medics who attempted to resuscitate the 58-year-old man on the scene, he suffered a heart attack after being hit by the ball. He was evacuated in a critical condition to Ashdod's Barzilai Hospital, where he later died.

Only last week, Australian international batsman Philip Hughes died after being hit by the cricket ball in the upper neck during a provincial match. Hughes' death led to widespread mourning in the global cricketing community.

According to one of the Ashdod players, who was quoted by Ynet, a fast delivery from the bowler came off the bat of the batsman, hit the wicket and then struck the umpire in the chest. As is standard in cricket, the umpire was standing a few meters behind the wicket.

The umpire fell and apparently suffered a heart attack. Several of the players attempted to resuscitate him, taking telephonic instructions from the local MDA station, during the 10 minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive on the scene.

Kobi Weiss, a senior umpire who attended to the injured man, said: "When I got to the pitch, I saw a man of about 50 who was unconscious. The people there said that he had been hit by the ball in the course of the match and collapsed.

"We immediately began resuscitation procedures, including medications. When his pulse returned and his condition stabilized a bit, he was taken to the hospital."

Lachish police said that there was no suspicion of foul play. Police are investigating the incident.

Cricket is not a very popular sport in Israel, though there is an amateur league comprising players from India and the former Commonwealth countries (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.)