For young Phillip Hughes his best cricket was still ahead of him, but the fatal head injury in a domestic first-class match cut him away. Struck behind the left ear by a bouncer on Tuesday he collapsed on the ground unconscious. He did not recover consciousness and died in hospital two days later, plunging the cricket fraternity into mourning. His mother and sister were at the ground when he was struck. Born and brought up in his parents’ banana farm New South Wales he moved to Sydney to further his cricketing ambitions when he was 16, and never looked back. He made his Test debut for Australia against South Africa in Johannesburg in February 2009. Only last month he was part of the Australian squad, which played two Twenty20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Tests against Pakistan in UAE. With memory so fresh, the Pakistan-New Zealand’s second day of their third Test was abandoned on Thursday as mark of respect for the fallen Phil Hughes. Condolences have poured in from all over the cricket world. “It’s a sad day for cricket. We share the grief of Hughes’ untimely and tragic death with his friends and family, and also our friends in Cricket Australia,” PCB Chairman Shaharyar M Khan said in his message. The Hughes’ tragic death produces resonance in Pakistan also for the fact that our rising cricket star, Ahmed Shehzad, luckily escaped when a short-pitched ball cracked his cheekbone earlier this month in a match with New Zealand. Quite a few other matches elsewhere too were aborted as expression of respect and support for Phil and his family.
As compared to other sports death by the blow of ball is indeed freak accident in cricket history, as compared to other sports. But it has been always there. Among deaths caused from on-field incidents most were due to head injuries but a quite few when player was hit in the chest – in Pakistan, Zulfikar Bhatti died when hit on chest during a club game in Sukkur in 2013 and wicketkeeper Abdul Aziz collapsed and died in 1959 in Karachi when hit in chest while batting. Over the years, safer and harder helmets and other protective gear have been produced. But complete protection against death on the ground cannot be ensured. There were cases when players simply collapsed and died. Wasim Raja (Pakistan, 53) died of a heart attack while playing for Surrey Over-50s at Marlow in Buckinghamshire in 2006. At the same time the authorities may like to review certain rules of the game, particularly short-pitched bowling to make the game safer. Let the cricket be more safe, really the gentleman’s sport. But for Phil Hughes brother, sister and parents this was the end of the charm called cricket. His Test captain Michael Clarke was the first to arrive at the hospital after Phil was rushed there, and read the family’s statement upon his death. “We are devastated by the loss our much loved son and brother, Phillip,” said the family statement, and Clarke could read it in pieces, fighting back his tears. Our heart goes out for the family of fallen cricket hero.
Source: Business Recorder