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The mystery behind Josh Hazlewood's missing finger explained

Josh Hazlewood
The single image that would go on to send social media into a frenzy

What’s the story?

At first look, the above image may not seem to be particularly befuddling. But, a bit more closer, and you could see that Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood has only only four fingers on his bowling hand. Has the highly successful wicket-taker been bowling with a missing finger?

Maybe, not. The image, taken by Matt King of Getty Images, sent social media into a state of hysteria with curious posters questioning the quirky condition. Is it just another of Photoshop’s great victory? Nope, the photo is as genuine as they come and not altered by any software. The explanation can be however found in photography’s underlying eccentricity – an unique camera angle and the fortune of being at the right place at the right time combined together to cut off Hazlewood’s ring finger.

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As soon as the photo was posted on the official Australian Cricket Team Facebook page during Sunday (to mark Hazlewood’s 26th birthday), one user immediately noticed the weirdness in it and wrote, “Is this photoshopped? Looks like he is missing a finger on his right hand.” Amongst a flurry of replies, one definitely caught the eye. An user tried to reason, “Aliens are among us! haha.”

The heart of the matter

Upon seeing the reactions, King duly checked his work and subsequently brushed all conspiracy theories aside. It was later revealed that the image had been a result of the powerful hi-tech camera that can pick up multiple frames in rapid succession.

“I had no idea until I saw the picture used on Facebook. I thought, 'that's my photo!' but I hadn't noticed any missing finger on Hazlewood before. I went back to the original file and checked it and yeah, the finger was missing. I couldn't work it where it had gone. But absolutely no Photoshop was involved, we do not do that”, he told cricket.com.au.

“When you see the sequence, all the earlier images are fine. He kind of rolls his hand as he moves and slowly the ring finger is obscured. It was just by chance that I chose that one frame where the finger is entirely obscured to publish.”

What next?

Hazlewood was instrumental in Australia inflicting a 3-0 whitewash on Pakistan in the recently completed series down under. On flat pitches, the right-arm seamer picked up 15 wickets at an impressive average of 19.60 and deservedly became the top ranked fast bowler in Tests. His next assignment will be the ODI series against Azhar Ali’s team. Having been given a rest for the opening match, he will be back in action during the second ODI at the MCG on Sunday.

Sportskeeda’s Take

Although Hazlewood’s image may have taken us by surprise, such occurrences are not uncommon in photography. There has been innumerable instances of people spotting something out-of-the-world in certain photos. If the modern-day camera’s power does not convince you, there is always another explanation. Was it as an act of God? Well, take your pick.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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