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Big Bash League 2020/21

Watch: BBL umpire smashed in groin by ‘ferocious’ straight drive

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Watch: BBL umpire Phil Gillespie, officiating in the BBL 10 match between Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers, unwittingly became the point of focus after taking a powerful straight drive on the groin region

The incident happened in the fourth ball of the 12th over in the Sixers’ chase. Zahir Khan’s delivery was sent crashing straight back down by Dan Christian, and so fiercely was it hit, the umpire Gillespie had no time to take evasive action. He did jump, perhaps attempting to go over the ball, but to no avail: the ball crashed into his groin region, and he was floored.

He was immediately back on his feet, but then went down on his haunches, even as the non-striker, Daniel Hughes, and the bowler Zahir went to him. Christian rushed to him as well, as Gillespie, both hands palms down on the turf, attempted to catch his breath.

“Oh that’s absolutely savage that,” said one of the commentators on air. “The umpire is upright, and thank goodness for that, because that’s come back at him at a ferocious rate of knots. Oh, it does make you stop and take a deep breath, doesn’t it?

“This was hit powerfully … oh I don’t know if I want to watch this,” replied the other commentator, Lisa Sthalekar.

Gillespie was eventually on his feet again, to an applause from the crowd, and the over – with two balls remaining, no pun intended – resumed.

Incidentally, despite possibly having denied the Sixers a four, the delivery was counted as a dot ball. With Sixers going on to win the match by a wicket and a ball remaining, that dot ball didn’t prove as costly as it could have been in the end. In more ways than one.

Watch below, with caution, the incident when the umpire took a powerful straight drive around the unmentionables.

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