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Five times cricketers conquered illness

24 February 2017

Dean Jones famously battled through dehydration during the '86 Tied Test // Getty

AFP & Cricket Network

AFP & Cricket Network

After Renshaw's 'gutsy' effort in Pune, we look back at some of the best tales of players battling illness on the field

Australia's Matt Renshaw became the latest in a long line of visiting cricketers to be laid low by an upset stomach in India when he had to retire mid-innings during the first Test in Pune.

Quick Single: 'When you need to go, you need to go'

Renshaw, on 36 with around 15 minutes before the lunch break, left the field when fellow opener David Warner was dismissed, much to the confusion of his incoming skipper Steve Smith, commentators, the buzzing crowd and those watching at home.

Renshaw retires after Warner departs

Later describing it as a less than ideal scenario, the left-hander returned two-and-a-half hours later to post 68 on a tricky Pune pitch.

Day one wrap: Renshaw, Starc take Aussies beyond 250

In the spirit of Renshaw’s plucky effort, we’ve taken a look at four moments in recent memory where players have defied illness on the cricket field, and one that didn't quite go to plan for Graham Gooch.

Dean Jones

The 1986 Tied Test

The 1986 match between India and Australia in Chennai is remembered as one of only two tied Tests but for Australian fans, it is synonymous with an epic double century by an ailing Dean Jones.

In his comeback Test after a two-year absence, Jones began feeling nauseous through dehydration soon after passing the 100-mark in a match played in near 40 degree heat.

After he began vomiting on the side of the pitch, Jones intimated that he wanted to retire hurt, but received short shrift from his skipper Allan Border.

Dean Jones scored a famous double century in Madras // Getty

"He said: 'If you can't hack it, let's get a tough Queenslander out here!'," the Victorian recalled in an interview with ESPN.

Jones did indeed tough it out, going out to make 210 but lost seven kilograms in the process and ended up in hospital on a saline drip.

The searing temperatures were made worse by the concrete MA Chidambaram Stadium, which players say seemed to radiate heat onto them. The stench that emanated from a canal that snaked around the ground also added to the unbearable playing conditions.

"I don't think they would play today in those conditions," Steve Waugh told the ABC of the match. "I'd say they would claim it was harmful to your health. 

“It really was quite ridiculous when you look back on it.”

Meg Lanning

Courageous skipper has Stars in good health

Southern Stars skipper Meg Lanning fought off an inopportune bout of gastro in Nagpur last year to play a match-winning hand in Australia’s World T20-opener against South Africa.

Lanning's illness struck just as she was heading out for the coin toss at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium. On her way out to the middle, Lanning suddenly hunched over at the side of the field and was taken ill. 

She returned to the rooms and vice-captain Alex Blackwell was forced to take her place.

The captain missed the toss and half of South Africa's innings as she tried to sleep off the effects of her ailment. But after the Stars slumped to 3-9 in pursuit of the Proteas 102, dismissed opener Alyssa Healy had to sheepishly wake her skipper from her nauseous slumber to tell her to stick the pads on.

Lanning on her way to an unbeaten 30 off 19 balls // Getty

Lanning eventually strode out in the unfamiliar position of No.6 and, in no mood for an extended stay at the crease, she made her intentions clear by finding the boundary five times in her 19-ball cameo. 

She finished unbeaten on 30, along with Blackwell (42 not out) helping her team back from the brink of disaster to get their tournament, in which they’d ultimately lose the final to the West Indies, off to a winning start. 

A true captain’s knock, which she was forced to sleep off for the following two days.

Peter Forrest

After a mystery virus swept through Queensland’s side to face South Australia in their 2013-14 Sheffield Shield-opener, Peter Forrest batted for close an entire day to help take the Bulls within inches of a remarkable win.

Forrest batted all but nine overs of the game’s third day to score 129, vomiting frequently on the Glenelg ground because of a stomach bug that crippled a majority of the Queenslanders. 

The illness had forced captain James Hopes to pull out just before the toss and also affected his deputy Chris Hartley and Test paceman Ryan Harris, along with a number of other members of the playing XI.

Forrest and Hartley on their haunches during a drinks break // Getty

With the team doctor left perplexed by the origin of the bug, Forrest was struck down by it on the morning his heroic knock, with Bulls coach Stuart Law admitting “it was coming out of both ends” of the right-hander.

But Forrest pushed through, combining with fellow victim Hartley (89) to put on 194 for the fifth wicket, giving the side a first-innings lead before Cameron Boyce picked up seven scalps in the Redbacks’ second dig to take them within one wicket of an incredible win.

Graham Gooch

Gooch has his temperature taken on England's '93 tour of India // Getty

The 3-0 defeat on their 1993 tour of India is remembered as one of England's lowest points, with the nadir coming in Chennai when skipper Graham Gooch succumbed to a dodgy prawn on the eve of the second Test.

Gooch was so sick on the morning of the match that he had to hand over the captaincy to Alec Stewart. Mike Gatting, his dining companion at the offending Chinese restaurant, also fell ill during the match along with Robin Smith who had reportedly eaten a plate of chicken in the hotel.

The Wisden Almanack joked that England "were well beaten by 11 men and a plate of prawns" as India won the match by an innings and 22 runs.

Food for the rest of the tour was prepared in-house and was said to have consisted of a diet of baked beans, corned beef and naan bread.

Ewen Chatfield and Sir Richard Hadlee

Richard Hadlee feeling sufficiently better after NZ's '88 Bangalore Test against India // Getty

During a Test in Bangalore in November 1988, so many of New Zealand's players were floored by a stomach bug that former captain Jeremy Coney and another TV commentator had to be drafted in as substitute fielders.

Fast bowler Ewen Chatfield was so badly affected that when he began his run-up for a delivery after lunch, he carried on straight to the pavilion to answer a call of nature - much to the bemusement of the umpires.

Little surprise then that India won by 172 runs. But the match holds fond memories for Richard Hadlee, who became the highest wicket taker in Test history during the match despite also being one of his team's casualties.