Afghan batsman rejects advice, bats on after head knock

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Afghanistan batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi was struck by a short ball that split his batting helmet and ignored medical advice to retire hurt in the Cricket World Cup game against England on Tuesday.

He said he kept going so his mother wouldn’t be worried if she was watching the game on TV.

Shahidi was on 24 in the 30th over when he took his eye off a short-pitch delivery from England’s Mark Wood and turned his head away as the ball cannoned into his helmet at more than 90 mph (145 kph).

After getting treated on the field, he asked for a new helmet and continued to score 76 before he was finally out.

His effort couldn’t prevent Afghanistan from losing by 150 runs, but raised more questions about whether the sport can be too lax when it comes to possible concussions.

“One of the reasons I got up so quickly is because my mum is always thinking of me. I lost my father last year so I didn’t want her to hurt,” he said. “My whole family was watching, even my big brother was here in the ground watching. I didn’t want them to be worried for me.”

A doctor and the team’s physio urged him to leave the field, and team official Naveed Sayeh confirmed Shahadi rejected their advice.

“The ICC doctors came to me, and our physios, and my helmet was broken in the middle,” Shahidi said. “They just told me ‘let’s go.’ I told them I can’t leave my teammate at that moment. My team needed me, I carried on.”

The 24-year-old batsman later checked in with an International Cricket Council doctor.

“They took care of me and said it will be fine,” he said.

He wasn’t the first Afghan player to be hit on the helmet by a fast, short-pitched delivery at the World Cup.

Star spinner Rashid Khan was bowled without scoring when he was hit by a delivery that jagged back, bounced sharply into him and deflected into the stumps against New Zealand in Afghanistan’s third game.

He walked away from the crease with his head down, and was checked by team medical staff before he reached the boundary. He failed an initial test for concussion and the team’s doctor later decided it was safer not to send Rashid back onto the field in that game. Rashid hasn’t taken a wicket in two games since then.

Concussion has become a major issue in sports, with the NFL setting up a $1 billion compensation scheme and sports such as rugby establishing a rigid, global protocol to deal with cases when players sustained injuries to the head.

After former test batsman Phillip Hughes was fatally injured during a first-class match in Sydney in 2014, Cricket Australia established national guidelines for dealing with players who are hit in the head with a ball and introduced rules enforcing helmets and other safety measures from junior levels up to elite.

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