Cricketing fraternity condoles Hughes’ death

Cricket Australia describes the incidents as a "real-life tragedy"

November 27, 2014 04:32 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 07:39 am IST - Mumbai

The Australian flag (C) flies at half mast at the Sydney Cricket Ground following the announcement of the death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes in Sydney, on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

The Australian flag (C) flies at half mast at the Sydney Cricket Ground following the announcement of the death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes in Sydney, on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

Devastated at the sad demise of young Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland on Thursday described the incident as a "real-life tragedy" and offered his deepest condolences to the left-handed batsman's family.

"The word tragedy gets used far too often in sport but this freak accident is now a real-life tragedy. Just shy of his 26th birthday, Phillip has been taken from us far too young," Sutherland said.

"It's an understatement to say that we are completely devastated. Our grief runs deep and the impact of Phillip's loss is enormous but nothing compares to the loss felt by those closest to him.

"Phillip was a cherished son, brother, friend and team mate.

"In these darkest of hours cricket puts its collective arms around the Hughes family. To his parents Virginia and Greg and siblings Megan and Jason we offer our love and endless support," he said.

"As a cricketer, Phillip was an incredibly talented and dearly loved member of the Australian, South Australian and Adelaide Strikers squads and a former NSW representative. He also played county cricket in England and IPL in India.Without doubt he was a rising star whose best cricket was still ahead of him," Sutherland said.

Indian teams expresses regret

The Indian cricket team expressed its deepest condolences at the tragic demise of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, who succumbed to his injuries on Thursday at a Sydney hospital after being hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match.

"The touring Indian team joins the cricketing fraternity across the world in offering condolences to the family of  Phillip Hughes, who has departed from our midst," said the  Indian cricket team in a statement released through Cricket Australia.

"In this moment of grief, we pray that they are bestowed with divine strength to overcome this unfortunate tragedy."

The 25-year-old cricketer, who was in contention for a  Test recall for the coming series against India, died at the St Vincent's Hospital, where he was battling for life after being hit on the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbot on Tuesday.

"As fellow cricketers we cherish the memories of playing along with him and deeply respect his contribution to the game of cricket," the statement said. Hughes played 26 Tests in his short-career, scoring 1,535 runs at 32.65 with three centuries and seven fifties. His final Test was at Lord's in July 2013.

He also featured in 25 ODIs. He is the only Australian to score a century on ODI debut. His final ODI came last month against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, a week after he played his lone T20 international against the same opposition in Dubai.

The incident happened when Hughes was batting for South Australia during a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales on Tuesday. He was batting on 63 when he was struck by  the bouncer below the helmet while trying to play a hook shot.

He was administered CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the ground before being taken to hospital. He underwent a 90-minute emergency operation before being placed in an  induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit of the St Vincent's  Hospital but he never regained consciousness We are all shocked and saddened with the news of Phillip's passing. On behalf of the entire cricket community, 

"We are all shocked and saddened with the news of Phillip's passing. On behalf of the entire cricket community, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends," ICC Chairman N Srinivasan said.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said the whole of cricketing fraternity was devastated by the news."He was a naturally gifted player who entertained many with his attacking approach to the game. All those who play, have played or are in any way connected to the game are devastated by the news. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy at this difficult time," said Richardson.

Kiwis shocked

Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said it was shocked  and saddened by the death of Hughes.

Extending his deepest sympathy to Hughes' family, friends, colleagues, team-mates and opponents alike -- and to  Cricket Australia for their loss, NZC Chief Executive David White said, "Cricket is a family. Quite apart from its super-competitive edge, it is a game of kinship, mateship and friendship; of camaraderie and community.

"To lose one of our own in such tragic circumstances is unthinkable, and our thoughts are with those who are close to Phillip; who know him, or have simply enjoyed the wonderful brand of cricket he brought to the game.To those people, and all others who share in his loss, may I pass on our heartfelt condolences."

The England cricket team, which is currently playing in Sri Lanka, said in a statement: "Our deepest sympathies go out  to Phil Hughes' family, friends and teammates at this incredibly sad time. Phil was admired and respected by all he played with and against and will never be forgotten by the cricket community."

Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar on Thursday termed the shock demise of Australian batsman Phil Hughes, who succumbed to the head injury sustained in a Shield match on Tuesday, as a “sad day for world cricket”.

“It’s a sad day for world cricket. It was a freak accident. Lots of players get hit on the head but only a few injuries have turned fatal. There was the other case of (India’s) Raman Lamba but he was hit while fielding (at short leg),” said the former chief selector.

Hughes, 25, was hit by a bouncer from fast bowler Sean Abbot and collapsed on the ground. He was taken to the hospital, where he died without regaining consciousness after battling for life.

“He (Abbot) must be feeling terrible. But it’s a part of the game and it was no fault of his, but only sheer bad luck,” the 116-Test veteran and recipient of Cricket Board’s prestigious C K Nayudu Award, said.

“Better quality of helmets is important,” added Vengsarkar, who was an integral part of the Indian squad that faced the fearsome West Indies pace battery in several Test rubbers, most notably in his debut series in 1976 at the “Kingston blood bath” Test when several Indian cricketers were injured by the Caribbean pace attack led by Michael Holding.

It’s very sad and unfortunate: Contractor

Former India captain Nari Contractor, who had survived a near-fatal skull injury after being hit by a fast bowler in the West Indies, described the demise of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes on Thursday as “sad and unfortunate“.

“It’s sad and unfortunate. Our sympathy goes to his family. What more can I say,” said Contractor.

Contractor had himself suffered a serious injury after being hit by a delivery from pacer Charlie Griffith in a tour game in the West Indies in 1962, while leading the touring India side against Barbados.

The tour game was sandwiched between the second Test at Kingston (Jamaica), which turned out to be his 31st and last international appearance, and the third Test of the five-game series in Kensington Oval, Barbados.

The left handed opener’s skull was fractured and it needed a series of surgeries and the insertion of a steel plate on the damaged part of his head to save the life of Contractor soon after he had celebrated his 28th birthday in the Caribbean Islands.

Contractor has always maintained that the modern protective cricketing gears, especially the helmet, have changed the game.

But the fatal injury to Hughes, who was hit on the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbot while batting in a domestic game in Australia, has made him wonder how the accident happened.

“I, for once never even thought after the advent of helmet that this could happen. But accidents do take place and this is one of them,” he pondered.

“I have read in newspapers (regretfully) that he was not wearing the best quality of helmet,” said Contractor when asked whether the quality of helmets needed to be upgraded to prevent such accidents in future.

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