One of the most difficult things for a sportsperson to deal with is an injury. As Zaheer Khan walked off the ground at Lord’s in the first Test on Thursday, it was agony for cricket fans.A day later, watching skipper MS Dhoni bowl and Rahul Dravid keep wickets, what stood out was the desperation on part of the Indian skipper.Indian hockey team’s goalie Baljit Singh lost sight after a golf ball hit one of his eyes during practice. He recovered vision, but not enough to play for India.While it may be too early to read much into this in the four- Test series against England, the recall and rejection of hockey goalkeeper Baljit Singh was an episode which could easily have been avoided.When Baljit was hit in the eye two years ago at the national camp in Pune while testing his reflexes with a golf ball, it was big news.He almost went blind in that eye and was then treated in India and in the United States. He got his vision back, played domestic hockey and hopes were raised that he would be back in the India squad.And even as the sports ministry was trying to broker a peace deal between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation, trials for the national team were on in Bangalore.A day before the actual trial was to begin, India’s Australian coach Michael Nobbs decided in all his wisdom to get Baljit’e vision tested.Much to the chagrin and devastation of the goalkeeper, Nobbs told him his peripheral vision was poor and he could forget playing for India again.advertisementBaljit held a press conference in Bangalore and lambasted the new coach as he felt injustice had been done to him. For the reporters, it made great copy as an emotional player attempting a national comeback had been ruled out purely on medical grounds.This is the baptism by fire which Nobbs would have never expected as he attempts putting Indian hockey back on the rails after the disaster at the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia.My heart goes out to Baljit as to be told that your vision is not a 100 per cent is distressing. Perhaps, had Baljit lived abroad, he may have been counselled better. But this is India, where despite huge medical advancement sportspersons still prefer to travel abroad for treatment.I would like to explain what exactly loss of peripheral vision means as I have interacted myself with eye specialists.While Baljit may have no problem at all spotting the hockey ball when it comes flying towards him straight on, he would not know what loss of peripheral vision is.It is about how well one is able to see from the corners of the eyes. For checking how good a person’s peripheral vision is, there are enough techniques now available, with the Humphreys’ field test used most commonly.It is unnerving for anyone to undergo that test for the first time, as a doctor checks the peripheral vision with the help of a machine.In the case of Baljit, in the first place, he is indeed lucky he got his vision back and can lead a normal life.As one who has devoted him- self to Indian hockey, it is hard to accept he may never get to play for India again. Then again, after such a major eye injury, for Baljit to make a comeback is indeed a brave effort.My advice to Baljit is not to take this to heart and lambast the coach but see how he can still help Indian hockey. He was apparently offered an advisory position as goalkeeping coach.This is not the first instance where an Indian sportsperson has suffered because of a serious injury. Rewind to the days of Nari Contractor and you will get to know how the left- handed opener was lucky to survive after he was struck on the back of his head by West Indian Charlie Griffith’s bouncer.Contractor made a miraculous recovery after being in coma for almost a week but never got to play for India again.Even in interviews a couple of years ago, the Mumbaikar lamented how he did not get to play even one Test after that incident.Yet, when one talks of injuries and handicaps and how Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi still led India superbly despite losing an eye in a car accident in England, it’s an unbelievable story.Pataudi has told people that when he was fielding, he actually could see two cricket balls. How he went for the right red ball and fielded with such aplomb is well known to every fan.advertisementThere again, if Pataudi was lucky, it was quite the opposite with wicketkeeper Saba Karim.Having been struck in the eye by an Anil Kumble delivery in a freak incident, Karim knew after some months he could not play again and in 2001 retired from international as well as domestic cricket.Fitness worries and injuries can happen to any sportsperson.Sadly in Baljit’s case, nobody seems to have given him proper advice as to how risky it is being a goalkeeper.Even with perfect vision, spotting the ball which comes at such fast speeds and different angles is tricky.To not play again for India will hurt Baljit but still it’s not as bad as being unable to see with one eye.