On the morning of 27th November, 2017, Australia’s top order batsmen, Phil Hughes died due to his injuries, just three days before his 26th birthday. 25th November, 2014 was no doubt a dark day in the history of cricket.In an Australian domestic event, South Australia was playing against New South Wales at the Sidney Cricket Ground (SCG). During the afternoon session, Phil Hughes of South Australia received a bouncer from Sean Abbott. Phil was batting at 63 not out. Phil was wearing a helmet but the ball stroked an uncovered area just below Phil’s left ear. Hughes collapsed before receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He was immediately taken to the St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, where he underwent surgery. Hughes injury was described as vertebral artery dissection which led to subarachnoid hemorrhage. Cricket Australia abandoned the match. The other two matches, which were ongoing in other parts of the country (Brisbane and Melbourne) were also called off with Cricket Australia stating that, “Given how players across the country are feeling right now, it’s just not the day to be playing cricket.”
However, after 2 days Phil passed away, leaving the Australian cricket and the whole cricket community saddened. Cricket matches around the globe were postponed in the memory and to give respect to Phil.
Players and fans felt collectively glum. It was a miserable chapter in the rich history of cricket. The nature of the game has changed a little since his death. Fans feel panicked every time a cricketer is hit on the helmet. Each and every time it reminds us of Phil Hughes. As it is said, time heals the pain, the pain of the death of this wonderful person has healed a lot. But as his third death anniversary arrived, the sorrow has an opportunity to reflect again. If there was any solace in his death, it was that, Phil Hughes died doing what he was born for, for what he lived for, cricket. Such was his caliber, that he was often called as the Brian Lara of this generation. His larger than life smile and innocence is missed by his fans. Hughes’ funeral was held on 3 December 2014 at Macksville High pallbearers. The service was attended by around one thousand people. Several Indian players were also present as they were touring the country about to start the test series at the time. Michael Clarke was Phil’s one of the very close friends. He says that he still has his mobile number saved on his phone.
“I walk my feet where he and I and so many of his mates here today have built partnerships, taken chances and lived out the dreams we paint in our heads as boys. The same stands where the crowds rose to their feet to cheer him on and that same fence he sent the ball to time and time again. And it is now forever the place where he fell,” Clarke said.
“Brothers in arms. RIP mate. I will always walk out there forever knowing that you are by my side.” grieved David Warner stated. Phil Hughes was given tributes throughout the country and all over the globe. Hughes final score of 63 not out was formally amended to 63 not-out instead of 63 retired hurt. Play on the second day of the third test between Pakistan and New Zealand was suspended. The 2nd ODI between Sri Lanka and England was to be played on 29th November, went ahead a day. People from around the world posted videos and photos of their bats on social media to pay tribute to Phil. The first two Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test matches to be held early December, were rescheduled, providing an additional five days of mourning period. Hughes was named as the 13th man for the first Test and his test cap no. 408 was sewn under the badge of all Australian players and painted on the field. Before the start of the match, there were 63 seconds of applause. When Warner and Smith passed 63 runs they both raised their bats in reminiscence of their team mate and when Australia reached 408 runs the match temporarily stopped as the crowd recognized the occasion. At the SCG, during the fourth test, David Warner kissed the ground at the place where Phil opened his eyes for the very last time and fell to the ground. Phil’s best friend, Michael Clarke continued to wear a black armband in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, he wore it till the final. Hughes’s ODI shirt number, 64 was retired in his memory. Phil Hughes death was an accident and that is the reason that makes it more jarring. I went through all of this about almost a year ago, it was not a good experience and till today I tried my best to forget it all. As I write this, every inch of my heart aches in Phil’s memory. The pain of his death never heals away. Phil was no doubt a talented sportsperson but he was also a true gentleman of the game. God bless his soul!