The saddest day in cricket’s history has just passed. Followers of the game across the world are mourning the distressingly unfortunate demise of a young batsman whose best years lay ahead of him.
Phillip Hughes dies, aged 25. Five words which dealt an awful blow to the cricketing fraternity. It still has not sunk in completely. It will take a while before one can actually make sense of why this had to happen.
An immensely talented young man, with an illustrious career waiting to fully blossom. Less than three days back, he was poised for a well-deserved comeback into the Australian Test team. Today, he is no longer among us. Fate has taken Phil Hughes away. It is a wretched feeling.
And these are just the sentiments of an average cricket lover, who did not even know Hughes. Like thousands of others in different parts of the world, who felt a part of them was lost on November 27th, 2014.
I can hardly imagine what his family and loved ones must be going through. We have lost a cricketer, to whom we were anonymous, yet with whom we had a wonderful connection through the joys of cricket. But they have lost a son, a brother, a friend, a team-mate. In their darkest hour, all we can do is pray to God to give them all the possible strength to come to terms with this irreparable loss.
And I cannot even begin to think of what Sean Abbott must be going through. I sincerely hope that he gets all the support needed to recover from this mishap. He did not deserve this. One keeps on wondering, why did it had to happen?
Two young men, in the early stages of their career. One will not come back again, the other will have to come back to himself from a painful tribulation. All this because of a freak intervention of fate on the field of cricket. Yes, cricket – the innocent, leisurely pastime. It just does not make sense.
They say everything happens for a reason, that the best are taken away from us first. But these are scant consolations. This tragedy has left a massive void in the great game that is so much a part of our lives. Seen as a future batting hope ever since he made his debut in 2009, I have no doubt that Hughes would have gone on to become one of the best batsmen to have worn the Baggy Green.
Born on November 30, 1988 in Macksville in New South Wales, Phillip Joel Hughes was a highly gifted left-handed batsman, and also an occasional wicketkeeper. He made his first-class debut for New South Wales in November 2007. At the age of 19, he became the youngest to score a century in a Sheffield Shield final.
In just his second Test, against South Africa at Durban in March 2009, he became the youngest man to score two hundreds in a Test. In January 2013, he became the first Australian to score a century on ODI debut. In July 2014, he became the first Australian to score a List A double century.
In all, he played 26 Tests, scoring 1535 runs at an average of 32.65. In 25 ODIs, he scored 826 runs at 35.91. In 114 first-class matches, he scored 9023 runs at 46.51 with as many as 26 hundreds. But he never got carried away by the success and always maintained his humility, determination and discipline in spite of being dropped more often than he ought to have been.
With an infectious smile that epitomised his countryside spirit, he always looked to improve his game. In 2012, he moved to South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, for whom he was destined to play his last innings. He will forever remain 63 not out.
So many potentially pleasing innings nipped in the bud. It seems so cruel and unfair, so sad to think of.
The rare nature of his injury shows how fickle life can be and emphasises the fact that no man can control his eventual destiny. Such incidents remind us to be grateful, to be humble, to enjoy the simple things of life, to work hard. To touch people’s lives in our lifetime, just like an unassuming son of a banana farmer did.
Rest in peace, Phillip Hughes. You will always remain in our hearts.
May God bless your soul forever.