Australia’s cricket board has decided to launch an “immediate” review into player safety in the wake of Phillip Hughes’ death, amidst worldwide mourning by the cricket community over the young player’s tragic death following a fatal on field injury.
Flags flew at half-mast at cricket grounds and players left bats outside their doors in tribute to batsman Hughes, whose death in hospital on Thursday (November 27) at the age of 25 shook the sport to its core and prompted a global outpouring of sympathy, reports Reuters. Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said the board would work with manufacturers and regulators to look into safety standards and seek improvements after Hughes was killed by a ball in a domestic match, despite wearing a helmet.
‘Statistics say it is clearly a freak incident, but one freak incident is one freak incident too many, so that of course puts us in a position of looking into that,” Sutherland told reporters outside the Sydney Cricket Ground. Sutherland spoke outside the ground where Hughes was batting when he was struck in the neck by a rising ball that burst an artery and flooded blood into his brain.
Teammates from across the world mourned Hughes, who played for two of Australia’s state teams and three county sides in England. Phillip Hughes, who succumbed to his head injury after being struck by a bouncer a week before his 26th birthday, was a precocious talent from whom Australian cricket expected big things.
At 19, Hughes underlined why he was one of the most exciting young talents around when he became the youngest to score a century in a Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield final. Just months before Hughes’ death Australia captain Michael Clarke had tipped him to be a 100-Test man. His perceived weakness against the short ball helped him in South Africa in 2009, when he used the pace of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel against them and he was the youngest man to score a century in each innings of a Test when he managed the feat in Durban in his second Test. He remained the Test backup opener and in Wellington in 2010 when he finished off the win with a brutal 86 off 75 balls. He replaced the injured Simon Katich for three Tests of the 2010-11 Ashes and despite struggling; he finished the Shield season strongly and was first in line to become Shane Watson’s full-time partner when Katich lost his contract.
It had taken nearly four years after his Test debut for Hughes to break into the Australian one day side, but he showed his limited-overs potential in July 2014 when he became the first Australia to score a double-century in a List a match. A month later he made the highest score of his first-class career, an unbeaten 243 for Australia A as he staked claim for a Test recall. There were to be no further additions to his 26Test caps though as, three months later, he was rushed to hospital after a sickening blow from a short ball during a Shield game. He never regained consciousness and died from his injuries.