He was only 25.
And his scorecard will forever read 63*; a star right above.
A short-pitched ball by Sean Abbott hit Hughes on his neck, causing vertebral artery dissection that eventually led to brain hemorrhage. Hughes fell face-flat on the pitch at Sydney Cricket Ground, never regaining consciousness.
Hughes, who had been an inconsistent addition to the Australian Team ever since his entry into the game in 2009, was on his way to make a mark with his innings at the SCG when the ball struck him at 63, probably even get a place in the national team to play against India next week. He was known for his unorthodox batting method and often even criticized for it.
The ‘freakish accident’ that resulted in the untimely and tragic death of the Aussie cricketer was the cause of the entire sports fraternity to come together and grieve in unison.
Flags were hoisted half-mast at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Adelaide, Sydney Cricket Ground and Lord’s in England – the spiritual home ground of the gentleman’s game. It is believed that there is an invisible flag of mourning above that is being honoured.
The Australian captain, Michael Clarke, was seen tearing up at the emotional press conference where he delivered a statement on behalf of the Hughes family – Greg, Virginia and Sister Megan Hughes. “We are devastated by the loss of our much loved son and brother Phillip.Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family share that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket NSW medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you and always will.”
Cricket fans all across the globe joined in by posting photographs of their cricket bats outside their homes, on Twitter with hashtags #putoutyourbats. Paul Taylor, from Sydney, came up with the idea and it quickly picked up pace. Twitter was flooded with photographs and tweets from several cricketers who joined the movement.
David Warner, who was a close friend of Hughes, posted on his Instagram, “#putoutyourbats missing my little mate so much!! I wish I can wake up from this bad dream. Once again not out on the cricket field and forever #63notout love you BRAZ!!”
Warner also posted a photograph of him and Hughes, the caption of which read, “RIP my little man. You will always be with me when I walk out onto the field. Not just a mate but a loved one to us all big man. Forever in my heart brother for life. Miss you buddy.”
Manchester United was seen following the trend of #putyourbats out as an ode of Hughes
A fan, Ben Hughes, grieving the demise of Hughes
The Indian legend, Sachin Tendulkar, also conveyed his condolences
He also tweeted a photograph of his bat when he was 25 years of age as a tribute to the young Aussie player.
Australia’s dressing room will take a long time to recover from Hughes’ death, says former England spinner Graeme Swann. “Phillip’s death will hit the Australia team very hard; those close to him will be devastated. So will other players who came into contact with him. I know England bowler Steven Finn was a good friend from when they played at Middlesex. For his family, it is going to be world shattering. I can’t believe it has happened. And the fact that he was only 25 – it’s cruel.”
Fellow Australian cricketer, Peter Siddle reacting to the accident
The accidental death of Phil Hughes is a dark moment for all in the world of sports. Where fans put these players on pedestals so high and consider them superheroes, capable of fighting back and emerging victorious in tough situations, Hughes’s death is a reminder that they are also mortals. A definite star in the making, gone too soon.
And also, a very happy 26th birthday, Phil Hughes.