The cricket world is in shock today following the death of Phillip Hughes, at the age of 25.
The Australian died two days after being struck on the head by a bouncer while batting for South Australia against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Hughes, who was wearing a protective helmet, was hit by a ball on the lower left side of the back of his head from pace bowler Sean Abbott as he attempted a pull shot.
The batsman, who would have been 26 on Sunday, never regained consciousness and Abbott was amongst the many visitors to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, where Australia captain Michael Clarke supported the Hughes family.
Clarke, a close friend of Hughes, read out a statement on behalf of the family following his passing.
It read: “We’re devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother Phillip.
“It’s been a very difficult few days, we appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public.
“Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him.
“We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip.
“We love you.”
Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland described Hughes’ death as a “real-life tragedy”.
“The word tragedy gets used far too often in sport but this freak accident is now a real-life tragedy,” he said.
“It’s an understatement to say that we are completely devastated.
“Our grief runs deep and the impact of Phillip’s loss is enormous but nothing compares to the loss felt by those closest to him.
“Phillip was a cherished son, brother, friend and team-mate. In these darkest of hours cricket puts its collective arms around the Hughes family.”
Cricket Ireland expressed its heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Australian Test cricketer Phillip Hughes following the terrible news of his death.
Joe Doherty, Cricket Ireland president, said: “The entire cricket community in Ireland is stunned and saddened by the news of the tragic death of Phil Hughes, at just 25 years of age.
“The heartfelt condolences of all connected with Cricket Ireland go out today to Phil’s family, his wide circle of friends, and the entire Australian cricket family. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”
Ireland manager Phil Simmons expressed his sympathy on Twitter.
“My condolences go out to #PhilHughes family and friends,heartbreaking cricket has lost one of its brightest sons.#RIPPhilHughes #gonetosoon.”
Following the incident, the match between South Australia and New South Wales was called off for the day before being abandoned entirely, while the latest round of Sheffield Shield games followed suit.
The second day’s play was suspended in the Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand in Sharjah as a mark of respect, with the contest now due to finish on Monday.
England and Sri Lanka will observe a two-minute silence before their secondone-day international tomorrow.
Widespread support was also shown for Abbott, the 22-year-old all-rounder who was on tour with Hughes just last month as Australia faced Pakistan in Dubai.
Former England bowler Steve Harmison had nothing but sympathy for Abbott and expressed hope that he can resume his burgeoning career.
“I don’t think anybody can even contemplate what is going through Sean Abbott’s mind at this moment in time,” Harmison said.
“I don’t even think anybody can come close to it.
“It’s such a sad thing.”
Harmison added: “To even think a former fast bowler, myself, and other fast bowlers can even think what’s going through his mind.
“It wouldn’t even come close to it.”
Hughes was well known to English fans both internationally and in English cricket after spells with Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire, as well as playing in the Indian Premier League.
A 26-Test international, he memorably scored two hundreds in just his second Test match against South Africa, with his last five-day appearance coming against England at Lord’s last summer.
Wallabies to honour fallen countryman
by Nick Purewal
Australia’s rugby stars will wear black armbands against England at Twickenham tomorrow as a mark of respect after the tragic death of Phillip Hughes.
Captain Michael Hooper said the Wallabies will be “thinking of Phil and his family” as they take to the field for the autumn Test. Hooper admitted coach Michael Cheika’s squad have been in “sombre mood” since learning of the 25-year-old’s death.
“We’ve got enough motivation this weekend, but when we’re wearing the black armbands, we’ll be thinking of him and his family,” said Hooper.
“It’s the kind of news you never want to wake up to. All of us this morning checking our phones: for us as a team it’s a pretty sombre mood. Our thoughts and feelings are with his family and the team back home.”
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