HYDERABAD: Australian Test cricketer Phillip Hughes died in hospital after he was in coma for three days following a head injury sustained while playing in a Sheffield Shield game in Sydney. The 25-year old cricketer was also part of the Mumbai Indians team in the Indian Premier League.
The left-handed opening batsman has played 26 tests, 25 one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international for his country. He made his international debut at the age of 20 against South Africa in 2009.
His death left many in the cricketing field in shock who took to Twitter and Facebook to express their grief.
Aspiring cricketers and coaches across the city shared their reactions and spoke about the safety and risks involved in the gentleman’s game.
Vijay Mohan Raj, Former cricketer:
“The fatal injury to Phil Hughes is a tragedy that is unfortunate and has opened up a debate on the safety of the players on the cricket field. In modern cricket, the equipment used by the players for all departments in the sport is designed to provide adequate security for the player by contact with the cricket ball. The injuries we generally hear about are those that are caused internally, muscle, fractures, strains etc.
I am certain that this incident will reopen another research initiative to create protective gear to protect the other exposed parts of the body that are likely to come in contact with the cricket ball at high speed. In my view the game of cricket is glorious because of the mental and physical challenges that are encountered by those who play the sport. We have had some cases of serious injuries due to direct contact with the cricket ball and I can only recollect the death of Raman Lamba for this reason and that to because he did not use protective gear at a close in fielders position. Before the 70’s the use of helmets and most of the protective gear available today was negligible and the threat from contact with the cricket ball did exist . There were serious injuries but not fatal. It is established, that in modern cricket a player has the privilege of available protective gear that no other contact sport has and although such type of freak tragedies could occur, “Cricket does not kill”.
P Man Singh, Former Hyderabad Cricket Association Secretary
This is just a matter of destiny unfortunately. If you talk in terms of equipment and gear being of poor quality, that has no meaning at all now. When Nari Contractor got hit, he was not wearing a helmet. He was only wearing an ordinary cap, he survived the surgery and he is still alive after 46 years of the injury. This is nothing connected with the vagaries of the game. As to the idea that the helmet was faulty, I won’t subscribe to that as he was hit at the back of the head. Now Raman Lamba died during the game, he was fielding, so you can’t really say the equipment is at fault. People get hurt in their chest, tummy and so many other places during the game. If you go back into the history of cricket, they have been cases of people being hit at various places, when the equipment was never nowhere near where it is now.
VVS Laxman, Former Cricketer
Such a devastating and shocking news. Real tragedy, untimely death of Phil Hughe1s. For the last two days I was hoping and praying that he recovers, but today the news came as a real shock. If someone like me who has met him few times only is feeling so sad, I can imagine what his family and friends must be going through. I am heart broken. How much ever we sympathise, the fact is the cricketing world has lost a good player like him.
These days sports personalities have all the latest protective gear. Since I started playing the game, sports equipment has improved a lot. It’s so unfortunate that the ball hit the neck. This is something that doesn’t happen frequently.
Kiran Kumar, Hyderabad Under 19 team coach and an ex-Ranji Trophy player said, “It is a very unfortunate incident. Earlier also, players were injured but deaths are something unusual. In modern day cricket, a lot of cricket gear is provided but the entire body can not be covered as the player’s movements can’t be restricted. Regardless of the equipment, there is a certain amount of risk involved in the game and that is why we ask our students to look for the ball before they play it. Apart from the equipment and the risks, technique also plays an important role to handle the ball. One has to learn how to play bouncers, how to leave and the technical aspects of the game come into play. In Phillip’s incident, he was hit on the lower back of his neck which was not protected and the incident is deeply saddening. Human instincts always acts as a defence mechanism so as a coach we always train our kids to play with instinct and technique. Cricket will always remain a gentleman’s game and injuries are a part and parcel of sportsmanship.”
Tanay Thyagarajan, a first year degree student from Bhavan’s Degree College said, “It is a very tragic incident that none of us wish to witness on a cricket field. When we play the game, we are always adviced to wear a helmet and other protective gear. You never know, anything can happen during the game. There is some level of risk involved in every sport and this is what any aspiring cricketer signs up for. To be honest, someone standing close on the field have no time to react and it’s the same with batsmen. I don’t think this will affect the spirit of cricket though the incident is very unfortunate.”
Sanket Agarwal, a X standard student from St. Andrews School said, “It was an accident and it’s quite saddening. These days there are a lot of injuries on the field as the players are really involved in the game and are careless about their own safety. As far as I am concerned, I always take good care of my protective gear and I am particular of the quality I use because safety forms the crux of the game.”
Srinivas Rao, St Andrew’s coach said, “It is a very unfortunate incident in spite of all the safety measures taken at International standards. I have no words to express and my heart-felt condolences to his family. There are a few things that can’t be avoided on the field. Criticizing the game is quite easy, no bowler would want to hurt the fellow player on the field. Nobody can be blamed for this and nothing has been done on purpose. As far as our students are concerned, we take all the preventive measures and see it to that a fair game is been played.”
BrijRaj Patel, Coach at All Saints High School said, “Hughes was a brilliant player who is no more now but there has to be an evasive action that should have been taken when he was hurt but unfortunately it was lacking. He was hurt on the rear side of his head which is quite dangerous. It is very sad that we have lost a very good cricketer and in spite of wearing the helmet, he was struck on his head by a bouncer. My sincere advice to the future cricketers is not to compromise on the quality of their safety equipment. The game has changed drastically while the bowler hurls the ball at a speed of 140-150 kmph so one has to be careful with the ball. For my students, I never allow them inside the net without the abdomen guard, thigh guard and the helmet. I have seen a lot of boys who were injured and left the game so we never compromise on the safety of our students and avoid a fear factor among them.”