November 27, 2014: Call it a black day for the world cricket – the talented Australian left-handed batsman Phil Hughes passed away. No cricketer or no one in this world is expected to go to work and never come home.
But in 2014, a talented 25-year old Hughes was struck by a 140 kilometre an hour bouncer on the back of his neck, delivered by the fast bowler and former teammate Sean Abbott. Hughes died in a hospital in Sydney. The incident took place during a First-Class match between South Australia and New South Wales.
Hughes was on the brink of a recall to the Australian Test team but who knew he would never get that opportunity ever again as he died of a brain haemorrhage, three days short of his 26th birthday.
Hughes had been in an out of the Australian national team in his career but had been pushing for re-selection. Fans loved his fighting spirit and despite few flaws in his batting he never gave up and always gave more than 100 percent on the field.
When he was struck down, batting for South Australia, he was 63 not out and was on track for a place in the team, who were set to play Team India in the upcoming tour. Hughes took the cricketing world by storm when he made his Test debut in 2009, scoring a mountain of runs.
Hughes’ hard work helped him play 26 Tests, contracts not just with his native New South Wales (2007-12), but in England with Middlesex (2009), Hampshire (2010) and Worcestershire (2012). From 2012 onwards, he plied his trade with South Australia, and from 2013 with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
Hughes was born in Macksville, New South Wales to father Greg, a banana farmer, and Italian mother, Virginia. Although he showed an early talent for rugby league he also shone at cricket and decided to take that as a sport.
He played his junior cricket for Macksville RSL Cricket Club, where he excelled so quickly that he was playing A-Grade at the age of 12 and in Representative Cricket he scored a century. At the age of 17, Hughes moved from Macksville to Sydney to play for Western Suburbs District Cricket Club in Sydney Grade Cricket.
He made his first-class debut at 18 and finished the season by becoming the youngest player to score a century in the final of Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition. From his 26 Tests, he scored 1,535 runs at an average of 32.65, with three centuries. He has also scored two ODI hundreds.