Phillip Hughes (1988 – 2014)

Following the sudden news of Phillip Hughes‘ death yesterday morning, I want to pay tribute to him by dedicating this article to him as his death has not just shocked me, but also the whole world and even the World of Cricket. The news comes just 3 days before he was due to mark what would have been his 26th birthday, and his death has shocked everyone. This article will take a look back on his career in Cricket, and the achievements he has made along the way up until his sudden death yesterday morning.

Profile: Phillip Hughes

Full name: Phillip Joel Hughes

Born: 30th November 1988 in Macksville, New South Wales in Australia

Died: 27th November 2014 (aged 25) in Sydney, New South Wales in Australia

Nickname: Hughesy, Little Don

Height: 170 cm (5′ 7″ approx.)

Batting Style: Left-handed

Bowling Style: Right-arm off break

Roles: Top order batsman, substitute wicketkeeper.

Born on the 30th November 1988 in Macksville, Phillip Hughes was born in a small town on the north coast pf New South Wales, to Greg, a banana farmer, and his Italian wife, Virginia. Hughes was also a talented rugby league player who did once play alongside the Australian rugby league international, Greg Inglis.

During the early points of his life, Phillip played his Junior cricket game for the Macksville R.S.L. Cricket Club, where he excelled so quickly that by the time he was 12 years of age, he was playing at an A-Grade. At the age of 17, Hughes moved from Macksville to Sydney to play for the Western Suburbs District Cricket Club in Sydney Grade Cricket, while he had attended Homebush Boys High. He scored 141* on his own grade debut, and had also enjoyed a solid 2006-2007 season, scoring 752 runs with an average of 35.81, finishing with the highest score of 142*. Hughes had also represented Australia at the Under-19s World Cup in 2007, and he was also coached at the Triforce Sports Cricket Centre in Mortlake.

His List-A Career

Less than a week after he made his debut in first-class cricket, on the 28th November 2007, Phillip made his List-A debut against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Although he was not originally scheduled to play this match, the sickness of the Australian opening batsman, Phil Jaques, handed him the spot.

Just like he did in his first-class debut, Hughes did pass 50, but was eventually dismissed for 68, which was the top scoring for New South Wales in a “controlled” display. After New South Wales’ wicket-keeper, Brad Haddin was struck in the head by a top edge, Hughes took on the ‘keeping duties for nine overs, and on the 17th May 2009, Phil made his first limited overs century, scoring 119 for Middlesex against Warwickshire. On the 29th July 2014, Phillip Hughes made a double century (202 not out from 151 balls overall) in a match with South Africa A in Darwin.

Phil’s Australian International Career

After he consistently made runs at the domestic level, Phillip Hughes was called up to replace Matthew Hayden on Australia’s tour of South Africa in February & March 2009. He was also selected to make his debut in the first Test match which started on the 26th February 2009 at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg after making 53, then he chose to retire in Australia’s tour match against the South African Board President’s XI.

He was dismissed for a duck in his first Test innings by Dale Steyn just off the fourth ball of the match. However, he did go on to top-score with 75 in the second innings, and that included 11 fours and a six.

Phil went on to hit his maiden Test hundred in the first innings of the second Test at the Sahara Stadium, in Kingsmead, Durban on the 6th March 2009, before adding another 100 in the second Innings. By doing so, at the age of 20 years and 96 days, he would become both the youngest Australian since Doug Walters to actually score a Test century, and also the youngest player from any country to also score a century in both the innings of a Test match.

During the 2009 Ashes campaign, Phil’s unorthodoxed techniques were exploited by the fast bowlers, who would often target the upper part of his body, avoiding bowling wide outside while off stump, restricting his own opportunities to play his shots through the off-side, also most notably the cut shot. He was dropped from the team for the third Edgbaston Test in favour for Shane Watson, who had opened the batting in his place and provided the Australians with an extra bowling option.

Over the next year, Hughes was a fringe player, where he would play some Tests to cover other injured batsmen. He did play two of the home Tests against Pakistan in this capacity, covering for injured Ricky Ponting in the Boxing Day Test, then Simon Katich in the New Year’s Test. He was then called up to the Test squad for the tour of New Zealand in March 2010 to replace Shane Watson in the first test, and he scored a rapid 86 from the 75 balls in a small fourth-innings run chase in this test.

He was dropped from the 2010-2011 Ashes squad, but he was instead called up for the third test as a replacement for the injured Cricket player, Simon Katich. He was a regular in the Australian team for that following year, playing in the last three Ashes tests, doing tours of Sri Lanka & South Africa, and then a home series against New Zealand, however, Hughes’ spot did come under a lot of pressure due to his inconsistency during that time. Phil scored two big scores (126 in Colombo and then 88 in Johannesburg), but his next highest score was only 36, and he did fall consistently to catches at the slip and gully.

Hughes was very heavily criticised for his overall performance in the two-test series against New Zealand, in which he could only manage 41 runs at 10.25, and was also dismissed exactly the same way in all four of the innings, being caught at the slip by Martin Guptill from the bowling of Chris Martin. He was eventually dropped from the Australian team following the series.

In his stint to Worcestershire for the English County Cricket competition, Phil made some adjustments to his much maligned technqiue, resulting in a more expansive range of strokes with more emphasis on the legside play. However, upon his return to Australia, Hughes left his home state of New South Wales, with the result of him moving to South Australia. This did result in a strong return of runs in the first class of cricket in the Sheffield Shield, and also the one-day cricket game in the Ryobi Cup. These returns, in turn, did earn Phillip Hughes a recall to the Australian Test team to face Sri Lanka in Hobart, following Ricky Ponting’s retirement in December 2012. Hughes made an impressive first inning, with 86 in batting at number 3.

After being away from the test arena for almost a year, Hughes saw himself back in the test side for the series against Sri Lanka in lieu of the retiring of Ricky Ponting, occupying the number 3 position over Watson. He immediately made an impact by scoring a solid 86 runs in the first test match at Hobart, with his new-found confidence and tighter technique that had eluded him 12 months prior. He had also made two half centuries during his comeback by scoring 233 runs at 46.60 in what was his most successful stint at the number 3 spot that the Australians had seen for quite some time.

Phil was set to receive a $1 million contract with Cricket Australia, and to also be selected for Australia’s ODI and T20 international squads in the wake of Michael Hussey’s shock international retirement at the end of the 2012/2013 Australia Summer. The selection of Phillip Hughes in the Australian ODI squad was confirmed on the 6th January 2013. John Inverarity, the National Selection boss, did note that players, such as Hughes, were included with an eye to the 2015 World Cup, suggesting that he would be viewed as a long-term player for Australia in all 3 forms of the game.

This was his big break, as Hughes had made his mark with a solid 112 runs from 129 balls in his ODI debut, which meant that he would become the first Australian to reach a century on debut. This also meant that he would go on to open the innings with Aaron Finch at Melbourne, and also meant that he would add a 140-run 3rd wicket partnership with the Captain, George Bailey, before being dismissed by Lasith Malinga. Since then, Hughes made his second ODI match, winning a century with 138 (n.o) off just 154 balls in the fifth and final ODI.

Following a successful Summer season in Australia in 2012/2013, Hughes was selected to play in India, though he did struggle in the series, scoring an overall 147 runs with 8 innings and averaging at 18.37. Recently, Phillip Hughes made his International Twenty20 debut for Australia against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October 2014.

Sudden Death

During a Sheffield Shield match that took place between South Australia and New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday, while batting on 63 not out, Phillip Hughes was accidentally struck in the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales bowler, Sean Abbott. Hughes was wearing a protective helmet at this time, but the Cricket ball had struck an unprotected area of his neck. He suddenly collapsed as soon as he was hit, before receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and was subsequently taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, where he immediately underwent surgery, and was also placed into a medically induced coma. Phil’s injury was a rare vertebral artery dissection, which had led to a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

After being taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, the cricket match was instantly abandoned, and on Wednesday, the Cricket Australia company announced that the other two Shield games that were initially going to be played elsewhere in Australia would also be abandoned, and they had also stated: “Given how players across the country are feeling right now, it’s just not the day to be playing cricket.”

Sadly, despite a lot of hard work and effort for the hospital to save him, Phillip Hughes passed away yesterday, and his death came just three days before what would have been his 26th birthday. The Australian Cricket Captain, Michael Clarke, read out a statement on behalf of Phillip Hughes’ family, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, said: “For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration. He was loved, admired and respected by his team-mates and by legions of cricket fans.”

Play on the second day of the third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates was suspended, as the players weren’t in a fit state to play cricket, with the match being extended by an extra day, and in light of Phillip Hughes’ death, the tour match between the Cricket Australia XI and the India team was also cancelled. The second ODI between Sri Lanka and England has been scheduled and will also go ahead tomorrow, which will pay tribute to Phillip Hughes. Millions of people from all over the world have posted photos of their bats on social media to pay tribute to him.

Cricket Australia will be conducting an investigation into the safety of Cricket players following the death of Phillip Hughes yesterday morning.

To conclude, I will be leaving Case Study #2 until tomorrow to publish, because I want to pay tribute to Phillip Hughes, and to also do it in the best way possible, so that Phillip Hughes will always be remembered for his career in Cricket.

You are one of the most professional Cricket players I have come to know about since I first heard about you on Tuesday. It was absolutely sudden and was also an absolute shock to me, and though you are gone, you will never be forgotten for a fantastic legacy you left behind. You have truly shone a light on us, including me, given just how much of a fighter you were. You were, and was always a true fighter to the end, and we will never forget you, we will always remember you for the good times and for a fantastic legacy you have made.

We will miss you so much, but you will always be remembered in our minds and also in our hearts. We miss you Hughesy, but you will never be forgotten. – Alex Smithson

Alex Smithson

12 thoughts on “Phillip Hughes (1988 – 2014)

  1. How tragic! Very sad. Your tribute is very well-written and beautiful. I was not familiar with him prior to now, but my heart goes out to his friends, family and legion of fans. He will be a great loss to the world of Cricket and to Australia, and to the world as well, as evidenced by the reactions around the globe. R.I.P. Phillip Hughes

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Lisa, I really appreciated it. I hadn’t known who Phillip Hughes was until Tuesday, when I heard about him on the news. He will never be forgotten for the legacy he has left behind. You’ll be always be remembered Phil, we will never forget you.

      R.I.P. Phillip Hughes

      Alex Smithson

      Like

  2. This was a sad and tragic loss, both for his family and friends, and the cricketing world. While I’m not a lover of cricket, I can’t help but emphasize with the pain of this young man’s loss.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Kitt, I really appreciated it. He will be missed dearly, but he will never be forgotten for the legacy he has left behind. We will miss you so much Phil, but you’ll never be forgotten. We will never forget you.

      R.I.P. Phillip Hughes

      Alex Smithson

      Liked by 1 person

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