A calamity strikes without giving any notice to anyone. It comes and takes away many prized belongings along with it. Getting a serious injury or having an acute health problem is possibly one of the biggest calamities that a sportsperson can face. A cricketer, being no exception, is also vulnerable to injuries or any health-related problems that can ruin his career.
Many players from different sports have had their dreams cut short due to health issues. From promising England Cricketer James Taylor, who was forced to retire at the age of 27 because of a critical heart problem to former Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped beating for 78 minutes after an attack during a match.
Let us look at five such instances in the history of cricket where a promising career was cut short due to an injury or physical trouble.
1. Craig Kieswetter
England’s promising wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter, who was also the Man of the Match in the 2010 World T20 final, retired at the age of 27 after suffering a severe eye injury while playing for Somerset in a county game against Northamptonshire.
Kieswetter was struck in the face when a ball went between his helmet and grill and broke his nose and damaged his eye socket. Though he returned after the injury, he could never become the cricketer he was.
Calling time on his short career, Kieswetter said, "Having gone through that experience of my eye injury and everything it entailed, I feel mentally, I will never again be the player that I was."
Kieswetter made 63 off 49 balls in the World T20 final against Australia as England secured their first major ICC title. Indeed a promising career finished at a very tender age.
2. David Lawrence
The powerfully built England fast-bowler sustained one of the most painful injuries ever on the cricket field which destroyed his career. Just when David Lawrence was becoming a lethal strike-force for the Three Lions, he suffered this brutal injury in a game against New Zealand in 1992.
Lawrence fractured his left kneecap as he was about to bowl and fell horribly and his shrieking cries of pain echoed around the stadium. Spectators said the sound of his knee splitting was like a pistol shot. This appalling injury cut short a career which had begun on a prosperous note.
Lawrence played only 5 Tests for England, and the damage forced him to retire at the age of 29.
3. Beau Casson
The talented Australia spinner also became a victim of an acute heart disease which forced him to retire in November 2011 at the age of 28. Casson, who had a congenital heart problem, had to undergo a surgery at a young age for the heart condition, i.e. the Tetralogy of Fallot. After the surgery, Casson's health worsened. He played one Test for Australia in 2008.
The Chinaman bowler was capable of turning the ball big, and his first wicket for Australia was the West Indies batsman Xavier Marshall. Casson was thought to be the one who would follow Brad Hogg’s legacy in the Australian cricket.
However, this promising talent called it quits in 2011 due to his condition.
4. Geof Allott
The joint second-highest wicket-taker of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1999 with 20 wickets, Geoff Allott, was a leading light for the New Zealand cricket team. However, a persistent back injury shortened his career and forced him to retire at the age of 29.
Allott bowled wonderfully well in English conditions in the 1999 World Cup and propelled New Zealand to the semifinal. The talented left-arm seamer played 10 Tests and 31 ODIs for New Zealand and made a name for himself with his brilliant bowling.
5. Nari Contractor
One of the most tragic figures in the history of Indian cricket, Nariman Jamshedji Contractor, aka Nari Contractor, suffered a brutal injury while playing a tour game against Barbados in 1962.
He was hit in the skull by a Charlie Griffith delivery; his life was in danger for some time, and he needed several emergency operations to get him out of danger. Contractor tried to stage a brave comeback after two years but could never make it.
He had a dream start to his first-class career as he scored hundreds in both the innings in his debut first-class game. Contractor also led India to a series win against England in 1961-62 before that nightmarish moment ended his cricket career.