Sport Writer Ben Burwood pays tribute to the cricketer Phillip Hughes, who sadly lost his life last week playing the sport he loved.
On the 27th of November, shock waves were sent through the sport of cricket following the freak accident resulting in the untimely death of a bright Australian batting prospect. The incident occurred during a Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and South Australia on the 25th of November. Hughes, who was 63 not out at the time, attempted to pull a bouncer delivered by Sean Abbot (A man who should be in all our thoughts as much as Hughes’ family). As he positioned himself to carry out the hook shot Hughes opened up his body exposing his neck. The short delivery bounced up and despite wearing a helmet the ball hit Hughes in an unprotected area of his neck, causing the membrane of the artery to tear resulting in Hughes suffering a brain haemorrhage. Despite being placed into an induced coma and undergoing surgery, Phillip Hughes passed away two days later, only three days before his 26th birthday.
Hughes was given his first test appearance in 2009 as Australia travelled to South Africa and fell victim, like many a batsman before and after him to the formidable Dale Steyn. Despite the setback, Hughes scored 75 in the second innings setting a foundation for the second test in Durban. At 20 years old Hughes became the youngest Australian to score a test century and the youngest player ever to score a century in both innings of a test match. Due to his impact in his first test series, Hughes was brought on the Ashes tour of England in 2009. The English bowlers were able to restrict his style of play, preventing his cut shots which proved so effective in Durban. This proved a turning point in his international career as inconsistency plagued him, leaving Hughes on the sidelines for a number of years. It wasn’t until a move to Worcestershire came about which enabled him to work on his style of play leading to greatly improved consistency from the still-young Australian. The change of style and vast improvement in consistency resulted in a recall to the National Test Team. Hughes also had a successful stint in the ODI side. In his tragically short career Hughes was able to rack up 26 test appearances and 25 ODI appearances scoring 1,535 and 826 runs respectively.
I researched some tributes to include in this article. Frankly, there were too many to choose from, statements from former players, former team mates, former opponents and journalists all of which couldn’t quite sum up the loss the sport has suffered. His death has sent shock waves through every sport leading to the #getyourbatsout trend on twitter with images posted from all manner of sportsmen and women from cricketers to footballers to hockey players. But perhaps for me the most poignant tribute was another twitter trend which came about on the day of his death.
R.I.P Phillip Hughes
30th November 1988 – 27th November 2014