Ruchira’s Split Second Escape does not suggest a Helmet

Bipin Dani, in Pakistan Observer, 13 September 2017, with the title Won’t use helmet, I am fit enough to move out of danger area: Ruchira

Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge had a “lucky escape” on Wednesday night.The 50-year-old field umpire could survive the serious injury on Wednesday’s only T-20 match between Sri Lanka and India at the R. Premeadasa Stadium. The powerful straight drive shot from Kohli’s bat (off Lasith Malinga, 16th over of India innings) was “nearly a killer”. Thanks to Palliyaguruge, who fell down on the ground an ugly incident was avoided.

Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge (C) speaks with Indian captain Virat Kohli (L) and coach Ravi Shastri (R) at the R. Premadasa Stadium after rain delayed the start of the Twenty20 international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo on September 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

“It was a lightening strike. I would have tried my hands to stop the ball. I could do that…”, Palliyaguruge, speaking exclusively over his mobile, said on Thursday morning.

There have been strong suggestions for the umpires to use a helmet. Indeed, some umpires have started using helmet. Australia’s Bruce Oxenford has been using an arm protector in all T-20 matches. “Let other umpires have the option fn using the helmet. I am certain that I will not use helmet. I am fit enough to move out of danger. I work hard everyday to be fit for the job. I go to gym four or five times a week”, said Ruchira.

Interestingly, the umpire, who was an all-rounder has played 124 First Class matches. “My cricketing background (right arm medium pacer and the rihgt-handed batsman) helps me in anticipation of the ball. Had it been deflected off my body nothing would have happened but had it been caught by a fielder after deflection on my body, Kohli would have been out”, the umpire added.

The umpire was brave enough to be smiling after the incident. He had won the International Umpire of the Year 2015 award.



Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge finally reacted to the shot from Indian captain Virat Kohli in the recent T20 game between India and Sri Lanka which almost hit him. The standing umpire from the game claimed that he is fit enough to swiftly move out of the danger area and won’t use a helmet for his safety.

Virat Kohli was at full throttle in the shortest format of the game against Sri Lanka. Kohli made full use of the Mega T20 season last year, toppling all records. The hangover from the season did not seem to go away as he smashed 82 off 54 balls, smashing 7 boundaries and six. On 66, one of those boundaries from Virat Kohli almost took the standing umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge with it. Had it not been the evasive action of him dodging the ball being hit straight at him, he too would have been at the receiving end of the hard ball coming at pace.

26 July 2015; Umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge is interviewed ahead of third and fourth place play-off match between Hong Kong and Ireland. ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 Third Place Play-Off, Hong Kong v Ireland. Malahide, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / ICC / SPORTSFILE (Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images)

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