Phil Hughes is dead. He died from a brain injury caused by a vertebral artery dissection. The dissection was caused by a cricket ball bowled by Sean Abbott.
He was 25, just a few days from his 26th birthday.
Sean Abbott is 22, 3 months short of 23.
A freak accident, but an accident that may have a profound effect on young Abbott. Abbott is just starting out, has played only 15 first class matches and represented Australia for the first time this year. What is going on his mind? How does he feel about bowling again at that speed? He isn’t a really fast, tearaway bowler, yet he will always now be remembered as the guy who killed a batsman. What a horrible thought.
This reminds us all that a hard projectile just 5 and 3/4 ounces in weight and traveling at 130kmph is a very dangerous projectile indeed. That cricket is a hard and dangerous game. It reminds us of the many nasty accidents in cricket over the years. Growing up, I’d heard stories of Nari Contractor who was nearly killed by the West Indian Charlie Griffith. As I started following cricket myself, I remember Ewan Chatfield being struck by Peter Lever and nearly dying as well. Terry Jenner being struck down by John Snow and Phil Simmons by David Lawrence in fading light.
The only other cricketer to have died from injuries on the cricket field is Raman Lamba, who once played 4 Test matches for India. He was struck on the head while fielding close to the bat in a club game in Bangladesh.
Simmons and Contractor needed immediate surgery to save their lives. We’ve seen many broken bones, bloodied noses. I myself have had hairline fractures on the forefinger and shin and I played nowhere near the level of these international cricketers. I played cricket when helmets hadn’t been invented. I batted left handed with right handed gloves and right handed pads. My head was bare because the peak of the cap interfered with the vision from my bespectacled eyes. Was I brave or stupid? Stupid, I think.
Phil Hughes 1988-2014.
Raman Lamba 1960-1998.
Rest in peace, gentlemen.