Cricket is a gentleman’s game; it’s never been watched as a dangerous sport like boxing and racings. We often use these words for describing the game. Those West Indian pacers with trench coat & floppy hat, steaming in to charge the fire to the batsman is just the series of horror stories of past era. The production of helmets, chest-guards, arm-guards, thigh-pads has made sure that the batsmen are now protected from bodyline bowling. Really? Seriously, are we safe??
It surely doesn’t matter whether we have protection or not. But a serious pace can surly damage any of your body part or do even worse than that. It was hard then to believe; it’s hard now to swallow. “There was just no grammar for it.” told Cricket Journalist, Gideon Haigh to ESPNCricinfo. “There was just no way to put it into words.”
The Unfortunate Incident:
The world witnessed the biggest challenge in the game on 25th of November, 2014 at around 2:23 in the noon. Australian batsman Phil Hughes was playing for South Australia against the New South Wales (NSW) in a Sheffield Shield game. He was on 63* when his Countryman Sean Abbott bowled a bouncer that struck Hughes at a sensitive position and just in a second he collapsed on the pitch. The scene was like, a speedy air was blowing over the ground and everyone stood silently for couple of seconds.
After some primary check-ups by medical group of both the teams, Hughes was immediately rushed for the surgery to the hospital and he passed away two days later. Cricket had never suffered this moment before and so it was too hard to cope with such difficulties. “Up until that day, I think every Cricketer who walked on the field thought, ‘Well, I could get hurt, but I won’t get killed.” Scared Former Australian Captain Ian Chappell.
A Bright Start in his Career:
The left-hander was one of those Australians who had tasted immense success at an early age. At 19, he became the youngest batsman to score 100 in a Sheffield Shield Final. One year older, he notched up centuries in the both the innings of a test match as the youngest player in the history of the game and that too against South Africa in Durban in 2009. Not only in the longer format but also in the shorter format of the game, he touched the feat of glory. Four years after his test debut, he became the maiden Australian batsman to score 100 on ODI-Debut.
A poor run of form saw him losing his place from the national side but his extra-ordinary home numbers made sure that he would make a comeback in the team against the touring Indians. “Cricket is a very challenging and contrasting game. “It’s good and it’s bad“. Expressed Cricket Presenter Mark Taylor to ESPN. “It’s kind and it’s harsh. It’s rough and it’s smooth and Phil got the rough bit.”
Players Send their Prayers to Hughes:
The beloved boy of Australia was globally famous. The tributes showered upon him as people of his town put their bats out in the park or the ground. The Cricketers did exactly to keep their bats out with their cap on it to honor the memory of the batsman. The schedule of Ind-Aus tweaked a bit and a day’s play between PAK & NZ test match in Sharjah got suspended. “It was all a bit of blur and I felt like I was in a bit of daze.” Recalled Sean Abbott who returned to the field after 17days. “The feelings stayed with me for the next few days.”
Yes, times flows away but has Cricket really moved on?? “I still don’t think Cricket’s quite over it, really.” Said Gideon Haigh. And then, those words of the Cricket journalist proved when Jofra Archer bouncer nit the neck of Steve Smith in the last Ashes (2019) at Lord’s. Smith fell on the ground and was senseless for couple of seconds.
Steve Smith Incident Reflected the Past Incident For a While:
“I think we all are in shock” feared Peter Siddle of Smith’s hit. The memories of 25th November noon was running in everyone’s head of the Cricket world untill Smith walked up to bat in the next morning. “All of us have a love affair with Cricket and love affairs can be inordinately painful at times.” Spoke Mark Taylor.
The toughest, hardest and heaviest moment was to watch Phil Hughes’ father carrying the coffin of his own son aged 25 with some of his teammates. All the Cricket members, his sister, friends and rest of his family members joined the funeral to pay Hughes tribute.
“I don’t know about you but I always keep looking for him.” From Micheal Clarke’s eulogy at Phil Hughes’s funeral, 2014. “I know it’s crazy but I expect any minute to take a call from him or to see his face pop around the corner.”
The next series in Ind and Aus, every single Australian who had scored 63 or more, paid tribute to their friend. Definitely, Cricket has somehow moved on. Series, World Cups and other tournaments have been going on around the globe but Cricket still miss his boy from South Australia. It’s been 6yrs but still the bouncers and collapses on the ground haunted the game.
The death of Hughes left the world in a state of shock. The young player, who showed signs of becoming a great player, left for heavenly abode all of a sudden. On the behalf of the whole team of Global Cricket, I pay tribute to Phil Hughes. You are still with us in our hearts.