Sport is meant to bring a lot of joy, not grief. It is meant to unite regions and provide a ray of hope. It never is a battle between life and death. It never is about mere survival. I was a toddler when Ayrton Senna was killed during the San Marino F1 Grand Prix. I was all of 8, when Raman Lamba succumbed after being hit on the forehead while fielding at silly mid on. Barring these tragic incidents, sport was an abundance of joy and thrill. And now, Phil Hughes has left us.
It wasn’t a snorter. It wasn’t as venomous as he’d have faced in his career. It wasn’t as brutal like those barrage of bouncers he was up to in the bouncy Durban wicket during his 2nd Test, where he hit those twin centuries. It wasn’t as lethal as he’d have seen from Mitchell Johnson in the nets. It was a 130 kph Sean Abott bouncer which took off from a rather batsman friendly SCG track. It was all over. He had been fighting for a place in the Australian side before that. Who’d have thought that a moment later, he would fight for his life. Life is cruel, at times. No it is, most of the times. A 25-year young man dies while playing the sport he loved and a 22 year young fast bowler, having to live with the burden for the rest of his life. How cruel can it get?
I’ve always felt that a child’s demise before his parents is against the laws of nature. Phil Hughes is left by his farmer father, in whose farm he had mastered the art of square cuts. He is left by his loving mother, in whose arms he had learnt the life lessons- humility and simplicity, the characters which would eventually define his character. He was a simple man, who loved being in the farm along with his family. He was humble by the way, he got along with his teammates. He was equally loved by all.
Phil Hughes leaves us with rich memories, of the spell bounding square cuts and cover drives. The Durban show, the historic last wicket partnership with Ashton Agar at Trent Bridge, debut century in ODIs and a lot more. He had his flaws and limitations but he also had age on his side. He was after all just 25. And how abruptly, it all ends. We’ll miss you Phil Hughes. We’ll pray that you’ll be born as a cricketer in your next birth too. Until then, be safe in the company of Don Bradman in the heavens. RIP.