In life there is nothing great than ‘life’ itself. For only if we live, that we get to share our tales. Sadly, life has deserted one pure soul today leaving the cricket fraternity, and sporting world, to mourn the loss of 25-year-old Phillip Joel Hughes. The Australian southpaw succumbed to his injury after being hit on the head by a bouncer from his Australian teammate.
A terrible loss for his family, friends, and teammates, but more importantly, yet another killer blow to the game of cricket, which is going through its darkest hour. Before we get to that evil, I, as a cricket fan in remote Marol, would like to share my impressions of the deceased.
Phillip Hughes burst onto the international scene during the 2009 feisty tour of South Africa. I missed his first Test, but was privileged enough to see his gritty twin tons on a lively track in Kingsmead, Durban. He wasn’t the most gifted, but like most Australians, he showed tremendous grit while facing the menacing trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and Makhaya Ntini.
With a crouching defence, it was apparent that he will struggle against the short ball. But what he lacked in defence, he made it up with offence. Fierce cuts and pulls, shimmies down the wicket, and electric running between the wickets. He was in the side to replace the great Matthew Hayden. And boy, didn’t he repay the selector’s faith.
With time, his technique was exposed and it was not surprising to see him drop out of the side. However, he always remained on the fringes. He returned, scored few runs, and then it was back to square one. Hughes had age on his side, thus fans and pundits knew that he would eventually come good.
Often, I crib about not having many great names share their birthday with me. The few ones that did, were long resting in their graves. Hughes was no great player, but we shared our birthdays, and my respect for him grew further when he was picked by Mumbai Indians. While here I am, planning for my treat, poor Hughes has left us before he was to celebrate his 26th birthday.
His death has raised issues of safety in cricket, safety of the equipments. I sincerely believe more than questioning the quality of the gear, it is the quality of pitches that needs to be looked at.
Australia, England, South Africa, and New Zealand have all along been about fast and lively pitches. Ironically, one such lively one has taken a life. Fast pitches makes for great contests, but these nations need to curb the bounce on their tracks. For that extra bounce has now proved fatal.
Last season, Mitchell Johnson ripped apart England and South Africa respectively. It was a sight to behold, yet a dreaded one. I wouldn’t even dream of facing Mitchell Johnson on bouncy pitches of Brisbane and Centurion. As woeful as the English were, they still left Australia with no broken bones. The South Africans weren’t that lucky with Ryan McLaren surviving a near fatal blow. Seeing those visuals then, I felt that the pitch and the balls hurling down at 155kms were too dangerous.
Often the subcontinent is slammed for having lifeless tracks, but these very lifeless tracks have taken no life. Ironically, it’s the livelier one that’s taken away Phillip Hughes from us.
Now, coming to the beast BCCI and the long standing probe into sport-fixing, conflict of interest, blah blah …!
Well, all along the BCCI defended Srinivasan as they believed he was innocent. Some cocky officials started to make us believe that Srinivasan was above the law, untouchable. And they even termed the Mudgal report as the ‘GOSPEL TRUTH’.
Well, I wonder, would they change their stance now that the Supreme Court has given the GOSPEL VERDICT?
Lack of accountability, commercialization has hit the game hard with many die hard fans, including me, desiring a break from the game.
The tragedy of cricket is that, on a day when it looked like getting back on its feet, (Supreme Court of India calling for a ban on Chennai Super Kings ) that it finds itself digging a grave for one of its sons.
Oh, cricket, there’s no redemption in dark hour.
RIP Phillip Hughes! Mate, someday we’d celebrate our birthday in heaven.