An umpire and former captain of Israel’s national cricket team died on Saturday after being hit by a ball, just two days after the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes in a freak head injury left the sports world reeling.
The Israel Cricket Association said that Hillel Oscar died after being hit by a ball that had just been struck by a batsman.
Oscar, 55, was struck while officiating a match in the southern port city of Ashdod.
Israel Cricket Association president Naor Gudker told reporters that Saturday’s game had been the last in the national league season.
“We’re simply in shock,” he said from the hospital where Oscar was pronounced dead.
“He was an international umpire. He officiated in European championships, he officiated in games in Israel: his future was ahead of him,” Gudker said.
“He was a player for the national Israeli team and he was captain of the national team,” Gudker added.
Police said they are investigating the umpire’s death.
“We know a ball was hit in his direction, he tried to escape it, he fell. What happened there is still being investigated,” Gudker added.
“The entire Israel Cricket Association and players bow their heads in his memory. He was a wonderful man, cricketer, and umpire,” Gudker said.
Israeli police have ruled out any foul play in the incident.
Fatal accidents are rare in cricket, but Oscar’s death comes just after Hughes died of a severe head injury caused when he was hit by a ball during a New South Wales match in Sydney.
Hughes, who would have celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, collapsed face first onto the pitch after being struck by a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott.
Hughes was wearing a helmet, but the rising ball struck him on the side of the neck in a “freakish accident,” according to the Australian team doctor Peter Brukner.
The Australia international died on Thursday in hospital after never regaining consciousness.
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