SYDNEY: The cricketing world was in mourning yesterday following the death of Australia batsman Phil Hughes, who died in a Sydney hospital, two days after being hit in the head by a ball.
A game that is synonymous with the values of fair play and sportsmanship was left heartbroken at the loss of the kid from a banana plantation who dared to dream big.
That he died surrounded by his family and friends after being injured playing the game he loved, provided little solace to the millions of people that follow cricket.
"It's an understatement to say we're completely devastated," Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland told reporters. "The word tragedy gets used too often in sport, but this freak accident is a real life tragedy."
Australia's pain was shared by the cricketing world. Cricket, perhaps more than most other sports, is played by a tight-knit community. Only a handful of countries play the game professionally and opposing players spend months together, often dining and drinking together after matches.
Rarely has the sport been more united than now, the game's saddest day. Overwhelmed by emotion, Australia's players were in tears as they filed out of St Vincent's hospital after bidding farewell to their fallen teammate.
Pakistan pays tribute to Phil
Australian Phil Hughes has left us and his departure has stunned the world of cricket and the Pakistan cricket fraternity in no different as tributes and condolences pour in from players and officials alike.
Both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) mutually decided against playing the second day of their final Test on Thursday, and play was suspended.
“It’s a sad day for cricket,” said PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan. “We share the grief of Phil Hughes’ untimely and tragic death with his friends and family, and also with our friends in Cricket Australia. Pakistan's cricketing fraternity is saddened by Hughes’ passing away.”
Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke pauses before delivering a statement, on behalf of the family of deceased teammate Phillip Hughes, at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney. PHOTO: REUTERS
The players are in shock too, with Hughes being part of the Australian squad that recently toured the UAE.
Team manager Moin Khan added that the entire team is saddened by his sudden death. “We are saddened and shocked at Hughes’ untimely death. The entire team is sad and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family,” said Moin. “Hughes was here as part of the Australian squad last month, and we found him to be a cheerful and friendly person. This is indeed a tragedy, and we share in the grief of his family and our Aussie mates.”
Players, present and former, also shared their thoughts through tweets.
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes on the sad demise.— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) November 27, 2014
Undoubtedly the most horror day of modern world cricket,,totally stunned after I heard about phill Hughes,,all my condolences wth his fam!!— Ahmad Shahzad 🇵🇰 (@iamAhmadshahzad) November 27, 2014
My deepest sympathy on Phillip Hughes unexpected loss u ll b missed my dear frnd my all prayers are with his family n frnds— Umar Akmal (@Umar96Akmal) November 27, 2014
We all play cricket as a family... Really sad & shocked with the news of Phil Hughes.. Special Condolences to his whole family.. Wil miss u— Mohammad Hafeez (@MHafeez22) November 27, 2014
onbehalf of Pakistan,a cricket loving country we send deepest condolences to Phillip Hughes' family,Australia & all affected by this tragedy— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) November 27, 2014
'No no no no no no' - sport stunned by Hughes' death
Players and politicians expressed shock and grounds fell silent on Thursday as the cricket world plunged into mourning after the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes.
Ripples from the demise of Hughes, two days after he was knocked unconscious by a cricket ball, quickly spread across the planet as the sport reeled from a rare death in competition.
Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh (R), radio personality Alan Jones (C) and an unidentified friend (L) leave St Vincent's Hospital following the death of fellow Australian batsman Phillips Hughes. PHOTO: AFP
Play was called off on the second day of the third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand in Sharjah, with some players described as distraught.
An image of a smiling Hughes adorned the electronic scoreboard in the empty stadium in the United Arab Emirates, where the 25-year-old recently played for Australia.
At the Adelaide Oval, home ground of Hughes's South Australia team, the heart-wrenching message "Vale Phillip Hughes 1988-2014" was posted on an otherwise empty scoreboard.
Australian legend Adam Gilchrist summed up the shock at Hughes's death with a tweet that read: "No no no no no. RIP Phillip Hughes."
The batsman collapsed on field during a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney and underwent emergency surgery, but he never regained consciousness.
The parents of Australian cricket batsman Phil Hughes, father Greg (C) and mother Virginia (2nd R) with other family members. PHOTO: AFP
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Hughes "was a young man living out his dreams. His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family."
Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were among the Australian greats to send condolences along with national coach Darren Lehmann, who tweeted: "RIP you little champ, we are all going to miss you!"
And Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar led a wave of sympathy from abroad as he saluted Hughes, his former team-mate in the Indian Premier League.
"Shocked to hear about Phil. Sad day for cricket," Tendulkar said.
Former South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who was forced to retire in 2012 after being hit in the eye by a bail while wicketkeeping, tweeted that he was "lost for words".
International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said: "All those who play, have played or are in any way connected to the game are devastated by the news."
Australian batsman David Warner (R) with partner Candice Falzon (2nd R) leave St Vincent's Hospital with Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (L) and his partner Julia Barry (2nd L). PHOTO: AFP
There was also sympathy for New South Wales paceman Sean Abbott, who bowled the ball that felled Hughes.
"How will he will continue? He is dealt a blow to his career and he needs counselling, which I am sure must have started, and needs to stay calm," former Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis told AFP.
Former England captain Andrew Strauss, who played alongside Hughes at Middlesex, led British tributes, describing the news as "sickening".
"The most sickening aspect of all of this is that he was a guy in the best years of his life and that was extinguished out of the blue," Strauss told Sky Sports News.
Middlesex Cricket Club announced that flags at Lord's would be lowered in Hughes's memory, while fans left flowers at the ground's Grace Gates.
The MCC president, David Morgan, said: "Phillip was a fine cricketer and one who we will tragically never have the chance to see batting again here at the home of cricket."
Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said his organisation extended its "deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences" to Hughes's friends and family.
England players past and present took to Twitter to express their shock at the news.
"Absolutely devastated to hear that Phil has passed away. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends," wrote England batsman Ian Bell.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen also spared a thought for Sean Abbott, writing: "NO NO NO NO NO! RIP, Hughsey #63notout. Sean Abbott - thinking about you too, mate!"
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