Ashes Rivalry Forgotten When You Witness Such a Tragedy

Hughes\' tragic accident has united the cricket world and highlights its dangers, writes Michael Vaughan

Published: 26th November 2014 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2014 09:48 AM   |  A+A-


What happened to Phil is very different. Seeing such serious injuries unites the cricketing world and cricket family and it puts things into perspective. (File Photo)

Phil Hughes' injuries will send shivers through cricket - batsmen will now feel that while they are out in the middle they are in a world that is full of danger, with the risk of serious injury. I enjoyed facing fast bowlers but there is always a fear factor. The truth is, with all the equipment and protection we have nowadays I never felt that anything drastic, like what happened to Phil on Tuesday, could happen to me. The nerves and energy were generally geared towards your wicket. You just did not want to get out.

So when I woke up this morning and saw what had happened to Phil it was a reminder of what sport is. In any sport, even with all the protection, it is a world in which things can go wrong.

There was always a nervous energy when facing fast bowlers. You always looked at the surface more closely, because you wanted true bounce in the pitch. The worst feeling about anything coming at you at 85?mph plus is uneven bounce. You just want to be able to trust the bounce. If there is any movement there is more trepidation in your mind and body, but the nerves and trepidation generally came before I went out to bat. Once I had scratched my guard and taken my stance my biggest worry was getting out. I did not ever fear injury.


Also Read:

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Australia's Hughes Critical After Bouncer Hits Him 


Throughout my career I always wore a helmet when I batted. It was part of your equipment. You knew that if the ball hit you it was going to hurt. You knew that you might break a hand or a finger or you might get one on the chest, but I never thought I would get a serious head injury.

The helmets and equipment are improving all the time. Manufacturers are always looking at ways of making them safer for players, but injuries still happen.

Last summer we saw Stuart Broad and Craig Kieswetter suffer facial injuries when balls went through the grille of their helmets. But the severe nature of Phil's injuries have reminded everyone that cricket can be a dangerous sport. It would appear that he was struck on the back of the head below the helmet as he tried to pull a bouncer from Sean Abbott and that he might have taken his eyes off the ball for a split second.

You have to feel for the bowler and also the fielders who were close to the bat when Phil was hit.

It will take them a long time to get over what they saw. Sean is a fine young bowler who has got a career ahead of him. He was just doing his job and Phil's injuries were the result of an unfortunate accident.

Apart from seeing Alex Tudor struck by a Brett Lee delivery that climbed into his face at Perth, I cannot recall seeing someone so gravely hurt on the pitch. When you consider how many cricket balls are bowled around the world each day you soon appreciate what a rare occurrence this is.

It would be easy to comment about helmet design but when you see how few incidents there are of this type in cricket, the helmets and other protective equipment have done their job for many years. Of course, older generations of players did not wear helmets and when you see footage of Colin Cowdrey and the 1974-75 England side facing Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson without protective headwear it sends shivers down your spine.

I only ever knew helmets but I was taught to keep my eye on the ball and to duck, weave and sway away from the ball. You still had a few fears when the ball fizzed past or you misjudged the length and you had to take the odd one on the shoulder.

It is the worst feeling in the world when you misjudge the length, you try to duck down but you know that you have got it wrong and the ball is going to hit you. But that is what batting is about. Anyone that bats four to six hours is going to have to wear one or two. It is part of your job.

But what happened to Phil is very different. Seeing such serious injuries unites the cricketing world and cricket family and it puts things into perspective. Yes, the Ashes are important but that rivalry is forgotten when you see a batsman being carried off.


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