The Melbourne Renegades march bravely onwards in BBL|06 but their immediate path ahead may not feature wicketkeeper Peter Nevill who was felled in a bizarre incident last night.
Nevill suffered a swollen cheek as result of a burst blood vessel in his face and it was expected that he would miss the remainder of the regular season, with the Renegades still with one game to play against the Heat on Friday night.
Quick Single: Nevill struck in face by flying bat handle
However, the Renegades, who sit in fifth spot on the BBL ladder, have kept the door ajar for Nevill to feature again.
“Peter is doing well. Initial scans were inconclusive as to whether there is a hairline fracture or whether swelling was due to a burst blood vessel," Renegades physio Nick Adcock said of Nevill, who has returned to Sydney to continue follow-ups with Cricket NSW medical staff.
“Peter will have further reviews with specialists and scans in Sydney this week and pending these follow-ups, we expect he will make a quick recovery."
The former Test gloveman, was standing back to Sri Lanka paceman Thisara Perera in the 18th over of the Adelaide Strikers unsuccessful run chase when rival skipper Brad Hodge aimed a mighty heave over the leg side.
Having fitted a brand new pair of batting gloves immediately prior to that delivery, Hodge admitted the palms bore a “powdery texture” and he felt the bat slip from his grip before he had completed his swing.
But in trying to regain his hold on the handle, he succeeded only in parrying the airborne bat directly behind him where Nevill – who was watching the ball that had disappeared into the outfield – was caught flush on the right side of the face.
Match officials on the scene later claimed they thought the 31-year-old had been knocked unconscious by the blow that caught him just near the cheekbone and saw him taken immediately from the field to a nearby hospital for x-rays.
Nevill will be monitored by Cricket NSW medical staff in the coming weeks and expect he'll be fit for the Blues first Sheffield Shield game after the BBL, against the Bushrangers on February 1.
Match recap: Renegades end Strikers' season
Meaning the Renegades will likely be forced to find a substitute 'keeper for the rest of the tournament, with captain Aaron Finch once again filling the breach when Nevill left the field assisted by the Strikers’ team doctor.
Just as Finch had taken the gloves in his team’s previous match when Nevill was forced to leave the field to undergo a precautionary concussion test having been hit on the forehead by a return from the outfield that bounced unkindly in front of him.
“Never seen anything like it,” Nevill’s Renegades teammate Callum Ferguson said after the match when he was also asked if the gloveman might need to consider wearing a protective helmet at all times.
“That was staggering, hopefully he’s okay.
“Normally when you’re up to the stumps you’ve got the helmet on.
“You don’t usually think you’re in too much trouble getting hit by the bat when you’re standing back to the quicks.”
“That’s just a freak accident.”
Quick Single: Voges concedes Test career is over
Hodge, who played alongside Nevill at Melbourne in Victoria’s Premier Cricket, also revealed he had never been involved or seen an incident such as last night’s throughout his senior career stretching back almost 25 years.
The 42-year-old also admitted the reason for the mishap was the brand new batting gloves that hadn’t been ‘worn in’ and therefore didn’t provide the requisite level of grip for the ferocity of the stroke that he played.
“I tried to grab it and hang on to it, and if I had of let it go it probably would have just gone out to square leg,” Hodge said after the match that the Renegades hung on to win by five runs after Perera closed out the match with two wickets in the final over.
“But I just tugged it round and it hit him right in the side of the jaw.
“Never seen anything like it at all.
“I’ve seen things where bats have gone flying, but never hit anyone.”
The Renegades victory, underpinned by opener Marcus Harris’s 85 from 53 balls and Perera’s four wickets, means they head to Brisbane for their next game against the Heat on Thursday with a chance of finishing in the top four.
It will require some other results to fall their way but after a string of narrow losses early in their campaign it represents an opportunity that would have passed had they lost to the bottom-placed Strikers.
“I think it’s a pretty favourable situation for us now,” Ferguson said last night.
“We’ve got a reasonable net run rate which is good, it was just great to over the line in a close one tonight.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to close out too well.
“We’ve lost two off the last ball and one in the last over so to get one back … it certainly gives us a chance.
“If we go up there and win in Queensland then we’re a good chance to make the finals.”
The only other concern for the Renegades after last night’s match was the leg soreness that forced fast bowler James Pattinson from the field after he had bowled three overs at a cost of 31 runs.
But Pattinson later reassured team officials that it was simply a bout of cramp brought on by the sweltering Adelaide conditions, and he indicated he will be in no doubt for Thursday’s crunch match at the Gabba.