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AUSTRALIA V PAKISTAN TESTS

Solved! Hazlewood's 'missing finger' found

10 January 2017

Trick photography: where has Josh Hazlewood's ring finger gone? // Getty

When Getty Images published a photograph of Josh Hazlewood, social media went into meltdown over his apparently amputated ring finger

The devil is in the detail, or so the saying goes. And so it proved when eagle-eyed cricket supporters discovered Josh Hazlewood had lost a digit and had just three fingers and a thumb on his right hand.

Hazlewood was snapped appealing for the wicket of Azhar Ali on the final day of the Sydney Test against Pakistan. The appeal was turned down and the game swiftly moved on as Australia charged towards a 3-0 series sweep.

However, Hazlewood's appeal was soon to become notable for a whole new reason.

The photograph taken by Getty Images' Matt King and posted on the official Australian Cricket Team Facebook page to celebrate the fast bowler's 26th birthday, shows the newly crowned world's best quick bowler with just four digits on his bowling hand.

Had we really never noticed this great Australian fast bowler, veteran of 26 Test matches and 29 ODIs was bowling without a ring finger? Had he suffered some horrible accident and had a finger amputated? Was he really a character from The Simpsons? Or was there some dubious Photoshop tinkering at work?

It turns out there was nothing quite so sinister at work, just a bizarre quirk of the camera lens, albeit one so convincing even the photographer who took the image was momentarily second-guessing himself.

The Facebook post of a four-fingered Hazlewood
The Facebook post of a four-fingered Hazlewood

"I had no idea until I saw the picture used on Facebook," King told cricket.com.au.

"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 out where it had gone.

"But absolutely no Photoshop was involved, we do not do that."

The hi-tech equipment professional photographers use on the boundaries at cricket matches are capable of taking multiple frames in quick succession. King then checked his original sequence of frames which, if you'll excuse the pun, pointed the finger at the culprit.

"When you see the sequence, all the earlier images are fine," King said.

"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."


Hazlewood appeals with five digits visible on the right hand // Matt King//Getty
A discarded frame as Hazlwood begins to roll his right wrist // Matt King//Getty
The ring finger is only slightly visible as the appeal continues // Matt King//Getty
Annnd gone .... // Matt King//Getty

Hazlewood has been rested for the first VB ODI against Australia at the Gabba on Friday night, and the Bendemeer-born fast bowler has sent down more than 300 overs in six Tests and three ODIs so far in the 2016-17 international season.

Hazlewood took 17 wickets at 22.05 against South Africa and 15 wickets at 19.60 against Pakistan in Test matches, as well as six wickets with an economy rate of 4.34 in the Chappell-Hadlee series.

About the Writer

 @Dave_Middleton
@Dave_Middleton

Dave Middleton is cricket.com.au's senior news editor. From Queensland, he spent 10 years in the UK where he wrote for The Times, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and The Telegraph.

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