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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Phil Hughes passing away is tragic .... but Aussies need to get on !


Yesterday on the FB, many shared a news that ‘Australia to play with 10 men at Adelaide and would keep Phil Hughes a spot’ – to me it appeared illogical and stretching things too far – it looks a fake news as none of authentic Cricket websites has that news ! At Triplicane, our group of friends felt very sad when in late 1980s, our favourite Krish Srikkanth was hit and had his fore arm fractured by a rising Bishop delivery. Injuries in Cricket are not totally new (though death is very shocking!)…… a bouncer is a stock delivery of a fast bowler, a lethal one at that – short and quick aimed almost at batsmen’s neck, head – players has to either duck or hook (or pull). The sub-continental wickets do not aid pace much, while down under it is different – everytime, We or other teams play at Perth, Critics predict to be swept over by pace and bounce.  Players have been hit not only at Perth or for that matter at Australia but elsewhere too. In 2002, Anil Kumble’s jaw was broken by Mervyn Dillon.  On another occasion, Brett Lee struck Alex Tudor during the Ashes that year and the latter was stretchered off. Tudor never played Test cricket again.  Tudor needed six stitches for a deep gash above his left eye after ducking into a bouncer.  Johnson bowled furiously at the English batsmen during Ashes.

In Jan 2010 at Bangladesh, the hose otherwise meekly  surrendered 2 Test series – but a technically well-equipped star batsman Rahul Dravid went down clutching his jaw hit by a Shahadat Hossain Bouncer.  A man known for his organized defence once had to bear the brunt.  Ricky  Ponting had one nasty blow from Kemar Roach, which perhaps raised his bid in the IPL auction.

Phillip Joel Hughes (30 November 1988 – 27 November 2014)  is no more – felled by a bouncer  on 25th Nov  during a Sheffield Shield match at theSydney Cricket Ground, causing a vertebral artery dissection that led to a subarachnoid haemorrhage. The Australian team doctor, Peter Brukner, noted that only 100 such cases had ever been reported, with "only one case reported as a result of a cricket ball.  The Australian Nation – the Cricketers, locals, sportpersons, celebrities, politicians are all grieving.  Funeral was attended by thousands and was broadcast live across the country. 

But at some point of time, things have to return to normalcy. Recovering from the shock of Phillip Hughes' tragic death, Australian coach Darren Lehmann is hoping that the distraught cricketers would honour the late batsman's memory by playing the opening Test against India here even though they are under no pressure to turn up.  The Adelaide Test has been confirmed as the first match of the Australia-India series and is set to begin on December 9, three days earlier than originally scheduled. The Brisbane Test will be shifted to second in the series and will begin on December 17, and the Sydney Test will be pushed back by three days to allow the players extra recovery time during a condensed, reworked four-Test schedule.

Putting up the bat as a tribute was the outpouring emotional act over the tragic death.  At SCG,  63 bats were put up inside the stadium as a mark of remembrance to his final score. The ground, where Hughes played his final knock in a domestic game, was thrown open for mourners for a live screening of the batsman's funeral in Macksville, New South Wales.

Thieves are thieves and do not have sentiments – reports state that a  budding young cricketer has had his bat stolen from outside his home after leaving it out in memory of Australian cricketer Philip Hughes. Nine-year-old Charlie Farrington from Maroubra, Sydney, had joined thousands of Australians in the '#putoutyourbats' tribute movement for Hughes, after he died in hospital on Friday. Charlie chose one of his oldest bats, writing 'RIP Phillip Hughes' on it before placing it outside his front door. 'When I got up in the morning, it was gone', he told Seven News. 'I just thought that was horrible.'  He is not alone.  Another man at Warrandyte North, Scott  Farquhar  too lost his bat kept outside him home as tribute. The theft adds to the growing list of bats stolen from outside homes in Victoria, NSW and South Australia, as well as from the Sydney Cricket Ground. Anthony Butler of Queenscliff said he put out a mate’s cricket bat in front of his northern beaches home on Friday evening, only to go missing.

Sometimes events just hit people at heart,  and even rarer times they seem to hit the whole nation collectively. Phil’s is a great loss – but the game would go on !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Dec 2014.

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