It was a Sheffield Cricket Match between New South Wales and South Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 25 November when a bouncer from NSW Bowler Sean Abbott struck the unprotected area just below the ear of the Batsman Phillip Hughes and left him unconscious and was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital where he underwent surgery, placed into induced coma and was in intensive care and in critical condition.
He died on 27 November, having never regained consciousness three days before his 26th birthday. According to Wikipedia, Phillip Joel Hughes was born on 30 November 1988 in Macksville, a small town on the north coast of New South Wales to Greg, a banana farmer and his Italian wife Virginia. He had a brother Jason and sister Megan.
He played his junior cricket for Macksville RSL Cricket Club, where he excelled so quickly that he was playing A-grade at the age of 12. At age 17, Hughes moved from Macksville to Sydney to play for Western Suburbs District Cricket Club in Sydney Grade Cricket while he attended Homebush Boys High. Phillip was also a talented rugby league player who once played alongside Australian rugby player international Greg Inglis.
Phillip scored 141 on his grade debut and enjoyed a solid 2006-07season scoring 752 runs at an average of 35.81 with a highest score of 142. He represented Australia at the under – 19s World Cup in 2007.
His Australian International Career includes replacing Matthew Hayden on Australia’s tour of South Africa in February and March 2009. Hughes hit his maiden Test hundred in the first innings of the second Test at the Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead, Durban on 6 March 2009, before adding another hundred in the second innings. In doing so, at the age of 20 years and 96 days, he became both the youngest Australian since Doug Walters to score a Test century and the youngest player from any country to score a century in both innings of a Test Match.
Amongst the awards he received in his young life include NSW Rising Star in 2007, Bradman’s Young Cricketer of the Year 2009, Sheffield Shield Player of the Year 2008/2009 and Domestic Player of the 2012/2013. He was scheduled for a test recall in the Test Match between India and Australia in Brisbane on the 4th December. Nicknamed Hughesy, Little Don, Hugh Dog, his untimely death in that freak accident has caused a lot of grief from his family, friends, cricket fans and to so many people from the cricket world and beyond.
Messages of prayers and condolences came from everywhere, from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Leader of Opposition Bill Shorten, to the Queen and even from the Vatican. He was very well liked by his peers in the Cricket World for his being a fine, talented young man. His closest friends include the Australian Test Captain Michael Clarke, David Warner and Boxing Champion, Anthony Mundine. Even Elton John dedicated his song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ to the young cricketer.
He grew up chasing the dream of the baggy green. A happy-go-lucky kid, with high dreams and had very good relationship with his family. According to the Cricket Australia Chief Executive, James Sutherland, it was the story of Australia’s “foundation myth”, the innocence of the young boy playing in the backyard and chasing the baggy green. It’s a dream that’s been shared by millions of Aussie kids but realized by so few.
Phillip Hughes was the 408th Australians to wear the baggy green. It was a country kid who made it big in the city, but never forgot his roots. But the fame never went to his head and he always spend quality time with his family in the farm when not playing cricket.
It was indeed a tragic death for an exceptionally talented young man , whose very promising life was cut short in a freak accident while playing his cricket that he loves most. Rest in Peace Phillip Hughes (Baggy Green Cap 408), ”Forever 63, not out“ and you will not be forgotten.