Rest in peace Hughesy, you will be missed

Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly signs a condolence message-PTI

Cricketers from all over the world have bounced back from several controversies and setbacks quickly enough in the past, but getting over the tragic death of Phil Hughes will take quite a while.

Just as the fans were waiting in anticipation to witness the high voltage Test series between India and Australia, destiny dealt a cruel blow a few days before the first Test, when Phil Hughes succumbed to a head injury sustained in a Sheffield Shield game. The combative batsman was on the verge of making a comeback to international cricket, but his demise left the entire cricketing World in a state of shock. Obviously an incident on a cricket field that leads to a cricketer’s death will leave one and all stunned and numb for quite sometime.

It was only understandable that cricketers in Australia wanted to stay away from the game for a while. Hence, it was not surprising that the decision to postpone the scheduled first Test at the Gabba received all round support.

For those who shared the dressing room with Phil Hughes, he was a superb man to be with and a very talented cricketer, who had a lot left to achieve. Time might heal the wounds of fellow cricketers but like every one else my heart goes out to the other members of Hughes’ family. The loss of a dear one under normal circumstances and in natural ways is hard enough to withstand, but losing a family member at 25 and under extremely unfortunate circumstances will be too much to bear for anyone. How devastating and heartless can life be at times?

That is the question that Sean Abbott must be asking as he must be going through a harrowing time. All he did was to use a weapon that fast bowlers have been using for ages and no one can fault him for that. However, it will be very difficult to convince him along those lines, as the end result was too tragic. Cricket like to play the game hard but at no time a sportsman will imagine events to pan out as it did that fateful Tuesday. Cricket Australia has done the right thing to provide counselling services to Abbott immediately after the event. However, it will be an extremely trying period for him, despite all the help extended to him.

Cricket Australia and the BCCI have to be lauded for the support they extended to the Hughes family throughout this crisis. In an era where the commercial angle tends to overlap all other aspects, both the governing bodies have displayed a high degree of sensitivity. The Test series will get underway later than scheduled but the combative flavour may come forth in a different dimension on the field. Fast bowlers around the world will see things differently when it comes to delivering bouncers. Batsmen, too, may feel their sense of security declining a touch.

One can only hope that the series turns out to be an absorbing one as it will be the best way to pay tribute to a combative cricketer like Phil Hughes. I am sure the Australians would want to ensure that they pay a fitting tribute to their former mate, but a certain amount of awkwardness is bound to be there, at least at the start of the series. The members of Team India would be equally shocked as many of them knew Hughes personally and have played with and against him in the IPL. Both the teams will hopefully find their bearings during the latter part of the series, overcoming this disturbing phase. Cricketers from all over the world have bounced back from several controversies and setbacks quickly enough in the past, but getting over the tragic death of Phil Hughes will take quite a while. Rest in peace Hughesy, you will be missed.