NSW Blues wicketkeeper Peter Nevill has revealed he feared his season might have been over after he was struck in the face by a bat during the KFC Big Bash League this summer.
Nevill, playing for the Melbourne Renegades, was blindsided by the bat of Adelaide Strikers captain Brad Hodge, who had accidentally let go of his willow when playing a swipe to the leg side.
The bat flew directly behind the stumps to where Nevill was standing back, with the bat handle landing flush on the ‘keeper’s jaw to the horror of the packed Adelaide Oval crowd.
Nevill told The Unplayable Podcast there was initially a lot of "shock and confusion" when he was felled, and thought the blow could have brought an end to his season.
"Usually the only thing that hits you in the face in a game of cricket is the ball and I was watching that make its way out to deep square leg," Nevill said.
"It was a bit of blur until the doctor got out there. I imagine he, after seeing what had happened, was making his way out there as fast as he could.
"It ended up bursting a gland in my cheek that caused it to swell very rapidly and when the doctor got out there and saw the shape of my jaw he immediately thought I’d broken my jaw and we had to go to hospital.
"It was very upsetting to be walking off the ground like that thinking that could well be the end of your season.
"A week later (I felt) a hell of a lot of relief knowing I’d be able to start the Shield season again."
By the time Nevill had left the field, his injured jaw had swollen to the size of a grapefruit, fuelling the fears he had fractured his jaw in the freak accident.
"The pain wasn’t through the roof so I was actually quite nervous that it was about to hit me like a tonne of bricks, it might have just been the adrenaline keeping it off," Nevill continued.
"I couldn’t move it at all and it was definitely painful – you just got hit in the face with a bat, it’s supposed to be painful I would have thought.
"Having never broken a jaw or a bone before it’s not something I’m familiar with and wasn’t really sure to expect."
However, scans showed no break and the 31-year-old was passed fit to resume the Sheffield Shield season with the Blues, where he scored 118 against Victoria at the MCG last week.
Given Nevill has been a wicketkeeper for his entire career, it’s remarkable he’s yet to break a finger.
Former Test gloveman Ian Healy suffered several damaged digits throughout his career, but Nevill has a trick to avoid a fracture.
"As far as I know I haven’t broken one (a finger) but it helps when you don’t go get them scanned."