Not many cricketers have had such a volatile international career as Phil Hughes. From a young age Hughes was labeled as a tremendous talent, which was reinforced when he burst onto the international scene becoming the youngest player to score a century in each innings of a test match.
Big things were expected of the country boy from New South Wales. But his quirky technique often led to his downfall. Hughes was dropped from the Australian test team on three separate occasions, yet always fought back the only he knew how to – by making runs.
Hughes was selected in the Australian squad to take on Pakistan in the U.A.E but didn’t play a test, instead using his time to grind away in the nets learning how to conquer the turning ball.
On Tuesday at the S.C.G Hughes was in a good place, batting with ease as he compiled a classy 63 n.o in a Sheffield Shield game against New South Wales. Hughes was on track for the 27th first-class ton and was seemingly batting himself into the vacant position for the first test against India left by an injured Michael Clarke.
Then we were all reminded of how quickly things can change. A Sean Abbott bouncer struck Hughes on the back of the head. The blow left him groggy with his hands on his knees before he collapsed on the S.C.G wicket.
Soon after, the seriousness of Hughes’ injury made the cricketing world sick in the stomach. As so often we had seen batsman play on after being struck by short-balls. This time it was different.
Hughes had gone from potential test match selection to fighting for his life in Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospital where he underwent brain surgery and was placed in an induced coma.
Today, everything was put into context as the cricket world stopped and united over Hughes. Cricketing rivalries were put aside as twitter exploded with get-well wishes for the fallen opener. Hughes, who was a scrapper at the crease, had always fought so hard to score tough runs. And there is no doubt that he will be showing that same fight to get through this deeply tragic freak accident.