Umpire dies after being struck by ball

Israel cricket in mourning following freak accident

An umpire and former captain of Israel's national cricket team has died after being hit by a ball during a match in the southern port city of Ashdod.

Hillel Awaskar, who captained Israel at the 1982 and 1997 Associate members' trophy, was struck on the head while standing at the bowler's end. He was treated at the ground before being rushed to hospital, where he died a short time later.

Awaskar's death comes just two days after Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died after being hit by a bouncer in Sydney.

"We're simply in shock," said Israel Cricket Association chief Naor Gudker.

"We know a ball was hit in his direction, he tried to escape it, he fell - what happened there is still being investigated.

"The entire Israel Cricket Association and players bow their heads in his memory. He was a wonderful man, cricketer, and umpire."

Awaskar, 55, is survived by his wife, two daughters and a one-month-old grandchild.

The incident happened in the final match of the Israel Cricket League, where all teams stood for a minute's silence before play out of respect for Hughes.

On behalf of the Australian cricket fraternity, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland will reach out to the Israeli Cricket Association later today to extend his sympathies to the Israeli cricket community.