The cricketing universe mourns today, the end of the battle with life, fought by Phil Hughes, a talented lad who introduced himself to the cricketing arena with back to back centuries in his only second test and that too against the fiery Steyn and Morkel and the youngest to do so, a farmer’s son, and yet another story of talent coming up from the most unexpected of backgrounds. My deepest condolences go to the Hughes family and to his loved ones, but none can reject the will of the lord.
While at this, let’s look at it from the eyes of Sean Abbott. The title of this article would probably sum up his thoughts presently. Imagine you have just started your career, doing well enough to begin with on the international stage, the rhythm seems to be fine and the world is noticing you, deep down dreams are being woven and you feel that you are en-route to preparing yourself to find a place amongst the legends. Glitter in the eyes, captain hands the ball to you to knock off a set batsman, a former teammate. You run down, over the wicket, bowl a nice bouncer, which on any other day would have had forced the batsman to duck, giving you the upper hand and the joy to bowl even quicker the next time you run back at him, but like they say that it’s beyond your control what life has in store for you.
Hughes had started his innings nice and fine, thoughts of a chance to wear the baggy green once again at the expense of his buddy, who is struggling to stay fit must have crossed his mind a million times the previous night, after all who wouldn’t feel so, having your captain announce in the media that “Hughes is a 100 test match guy”. batting nicely at 63, oozing with confidence and he decides to brave this bouncer from Abbott, he wasn’t a sub-continent chap after all and this was like a daily business for the man from new south wales, having already worked on it after being exposed by Harmison and Flintoff in the Ashes .
However, we all miss at times, even the best of us. While some misses prove not so dear while some just take us close to that thin line differentiating life and death, and then there are misses that stop the world for your loved ones. Sadly, the latter occurred for the 25 year old Hughes and nothing short of a misery for his 22 year old fellow Aussie who cradled him away immediately, fighting tears on the inside, realizing what just happened.
While we all feel bad and feel for Hughes family, we have to spare a word for Abbott too. It is even beyond imagination to think what he would be going through presently. Media standing at the fence to make a story out of this, madmen demanding his head, and more than twice the years left ahead of him. It was surely just another delivery for him before it hit the ground but the moment it took off it, someone’s world was about to change and I am sure he is fighting a battle in there, far more difficult than for us to ever comprehend. It isn’t like he has broken a jaw or gotten his mate a skull fracture; he has unfortunately played with a life.
The pressure is surely immense, the pangs in the heart having been instrumental in this misery, and the question crops up will he return mentally strong? Imagine the next time he even thinks of bouncing out an opponent, will his arms and mind actually approve the delivery? Will he stumble in that run up and will he ever pick the ball again?
I hope people don’t screw a young lad’s career but just let him be. I hope they stand by him as much as they stand by the Hughes family. I hope to see Abbott back, strong once again. While for the folks who go out to bat soon, it was a re-iteration that irrespective of all the protective gear that you wear, you will but remain a human. So do not take the next ball that you face, for granted!