Hyderabad: For Prasanth Panchada, the biggest challenge as a physio came in the recently held semifinals of the Duleep Trophy in Alur (Karnataka) when India Green’s Priyam Garg was struck in the neck while fielding at silly point off the bowling of leg spinner Rahul Chahar. The batsman in action was India Red’s Avesh Khan.
Prasanth, who was the physio of the Green team, was worried about the fielder as the hard ball brought Garg to the ground. “He was conscious, but was in pain. Given the recent incidents of concussions in Test cricket, I took no chance and immediately asked for ambulance to be taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. Luckily, there was not much damage and Garg resumed his duties. But nowadays, we can’t take any chances after the Phillip Hughes’ incident in Australia where the Test cricketer collapsed after being struck on the back side of the head. Physio’s role has become challenging,’’ said the Hyderabad-based physio.
Prasanth, who was with the Hyderabad Ranji team for more than five years before Chhattisgarh roped him two years ago, said given the recent sad incidents, it is prudent for the batsman and close in fielder (particularly at short leg) to wear helmet with a guard that offers players extra protection for the vulnerable area at the back of the head and neck. “Since the ball travels at a good speed, if a batsman or a fielder comes in the way then it is spells danger. At times, it could lead to dangerous consequences.’’
The physios or the supporting staff is taking no chances, according to Prashanth. “If you see in the recent Ashes Test series where Steve Smith was felled by Jofra Archer in the second Test or Darren Bravo who was hit by a vicious bouncer off Jasprit Bumrah at Kingston, the team straightaway withdrew the batsmen and the concussion substitute batsmen were inducted into the team.‘’
The city physio said safety is the order of the day. “We have to upgrade ourselves and we have to be very alert on the field.’’
Prasanth nevertheless enjoyed his new role as physio of the India Green. “It was a good experience for me. This will hold me in good stead.’’