It is unclear if former SA U19 bowler Mondli Khumalo will be able to play cricket again after being brutally assaulted outside a pub in England.
Khumalo was out celebrating a win with his North Petherton Cricket Club teammates in the early hours of last Sunday morning when the incident in Bridgwater, Somerset, took place. A 27-year-old suspect has been arrested.
The 20-year-old Khumalo, who is contracted to the KZN Inland Cricket Union and playing for North Petherton during the SA off-season, suffered serious head injuries and slipped into a coma.
While he has regained consciousness and is talking, it’s too early to say if his cricket career is over.
“A neurologist said they will need him to recover a little bit more in order for them to be able to tell,” KZN Inland CEO Jason Sathiaseelan told the Sunday Times.
“With brain injuries, it’s a possibility that one might not be their usual self again, but that’s not our focus right now. We just want Mondli to recover first and come home and we will deal with the rest later.
“But the doctors are positive because of the fact that Mondli is still very young, that will aid his recovery. The main focus for everyone at the moment should be that he survives and comes back to be with his family.”
Khumalo’s agent Rob Humphreys, who has been with him in the UK, said: “Every head injury is different. He might suffer no long-term effects and he might have quite long severe effects. We just don’t know the answers to that until he is fully conscious and able to communicate effectively.
“We won’t know what the long-term outlook is like for a bit of time yet.”
North Petherton and his alma mater Maritzburg College have started crowdfunding campaigns to help the Khumalo family of which Mondli is the provider.
North Petherton has raised £22,259 (R432,000) with 22 days left to reach their £500,000 (R9.7-million) target.
Cricket SA and the sports department have also pledged to help.