There comes a moment in life, a turning point, when everything that you have ever known changes. Your outlook on what you took for granted and even your random thoughts begin to take a different shape. I’ve had that particular moment now twice in my life. The first time came when my father passed away over 5 years ago. My entire world shattered and I was thrust into a completely different direction. I realised that life wasn’t easy to come by and as cliched as this might sound, you had to live every day like it would be your last. The 2nd moment came today when Phil Hughes passed away.
Now you’re all wondering – in what way am I affected by a cricketer’s death halfway around the world? Neither have I been to Australia or even seen this guy play in real life! How does his death affect me so deeply so as to classify it as a moment that changes my life? The truth is that while I’ve never met the man or been his friend, I, like the vast number of cricket fans who are in the same place as me, will deeply miss this particular player a lot. We saw him take the world by storm when he made his international debut vs South Africa and their legendary attack. We saw him support a young 18 year old boy in a record breaking 10 wicket partnership where most people remembered the other batsman. We saw him fight for his place in the Australian cricket team time and again even though every cricket fan (Aussie or not) believed he had earned a cemented spot in the team (despite the selectors and their decisions). But although to us, he was just a jovial and humble cricketer, he was more.
I won’t claim to know Phil Hughes more than what cricket I’ve seen him play or the stories I’ve read. I won’t change my opinion of the fact that he was one of the bright stars of Australian cricket and there was a lot of wrong done by him. I cannot claim to be more affected by his death than his family and friends, but I can share in their sorrow and despair. To lose someone close to you in a freak way isn’t ideal at all. It would, of course be better that we never lose our loved ones, but that world doesn’t exist yet. I’ve learned that when we do lose that loved one, always unexpected, we need to remember the good things about them – because frankly otherwise we might never realise how great they were and how much we loved them.
I still remember watching Hughes batting with Ashton Agar during the 1st Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2013. Here was a man who was plodding along nicely while the upstart at the other end was stealing all the attention. He never seemed to demand attention to his exploits, which were amazing and deserved more than the attention it got. He was the perennial exclusion. He still believed that he would be included solely on merit and never stopped working. The only side that I can claim to know of him is his cricketing side. But when I did hear the news in the morning, unabashedly I shed tears. It’s been almost a day and I still cannot shake the numbness that has built inside of me.
A son, a brother, a friend, a teammate, a cricketer and a general nice human being – These are just some of the words that could be used to describe the man who is now slashing through point for 4 on the clouds. The man was supposed to take guard and do what he loved doing on December 4th at the Gabba. Instead, he’s now exchanging notes with the legends of the game, already passed. Words cannot describe how awful this entire episode has been and I wouldn’t even begin to imagine how it must be for his family and friends.
All I can say now is – Rest in peace, Phillip Hughes……..
P.S. Just comforting hugs go out especially to Sean Abbott who unfortunately was the bowler facing Phil Hughes when the injury occurred. Hugs…….