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Images of the sickening blow were broadcast almost instantly across Australia, and messages of support flowed in from around the world all night and into the morning on Wednesday. News channels crossed lived to the hospital in downtown Sydney, where satellite TV trucks and dozens of news crews reported regular updates on Hughes’ condition.


Hughes has played 26 Test matches for Australia since his debut in 2009 but hasn’t been able to cement a regular spot in the starting lineup. He was highly regarded by team-mates and rivals, and regular fans who appreciated his no-fuss approach to the game.


“He is a great fighter and a great young man!” Australia coach Darren Lehmann posted on Twitter. Lehmann’s comments were among the tens of thousands of tweets that flowed in.


Hughes’ team mates outside St Vincents Hospital


Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the accident “sends shudders through you a little bit … it makes a lot of things flash through your mind.”


The injury sparked debate about short-pitch bowling in the game, and the level of protection offered by contemporary helmets.


Australian cricketers Brad Haddin and Aaron Finch arrive at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney

Cricketers didn’t start wearing protective helmets until the late 1970s, when batsmen decided it was time to protect themselves against a 156-gram (5½ ounce) hard leather ball traveling at up to 160 kph (100 mph).

Bouncers, where a fast bowler aims to push the batsman back toward the stumps with a ball that lands halfway down the pitch and rears up above chest or head height, are still a regular and acceptable part of the game.


The International Cricket Council revised its laws on short-pitch bowling in the early 1990s, putting restrictions on the number of short-pitch balls allowed per over to stamp out bowlers merely using the delivery to intimidate batsmen.

Australian cricket great Shane Warne told an Australian radio station Wednesday that the accident did not appear to be the result of a poorly designed helmet.

“It’s a tough situation for everyone,” Warne said. “It’s one of those terrible freak accidents. You just think about how many lives the helmet has saved over the years. This is just one of those things.”

Adding some optimism to Hughes’ recovery hopes was Phil Simmons, a former West Indies batsman who recovered fully from a similar head injury and returned to test cricket.

Simmons was hit by a fast delivery by David Lawrence in a tour match for the West Indies against Gloucestershire in Bristol, England in 1988. His heart stopped after the accident, but he made a full recovery after extensive brain surgery.

Simmons, who was also 25 at the time, was not wearing a helmet.

Hughes’ injury is so rare it is the cricketing equivalent of being hit by a bus, said Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones in The Australian.

With the cricket community in shock and rallying behind Hughes, who remains in an induced coma at St Vincent’s Hospital after being struck in the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbott at the SCG yesterday, Jones said it was a freak accident.


“It’s the cricketing equivalent of getting hit by a bus,” Jones told Sky Sports Radio this morning.

“It’s a freak accident. There have been a million bouncers bowled before and there will be a million bouncers bowled after.”


Hughes was considered a strong contender to force his way back into Australia’s test team next week if injured skipper Michael Clarke was forced out of the series-opening match against India. Hughes was batting confidently on 63 when he mistimed an attempted pull shot and was hit in the head by a regulation bouncer from fast bowler Sean Abbott.

Hughes was wearing a batting helmet, but the area behind his ear was unprotected.

The SCG match was cancelled almost immediately and other Shield matches in Brisbane and Melbourne were called off on Wednesday after consultation between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

The Australian Daily Telegraph ran a piece which focused on the time it took for an ambulance to reach the injured player. “Why did it take ambos so long to reach stricken Hughes?” screamed the headline. Worryingly, ambulance NSW issued a statement claiming the first emergency call was not made for 14 minutes — despite pictures of players making frantic hand signals to call an ambulance just minutes after he was hit.



In closing SyndicatedNews.NET LLC shares these words of solace from our Australian business partner Gary McAlister of Gold Bank Reserve whose wife and family, home and business are in Brisbane, Australia…

“Phil was an inspiring young man and a role model to all that knew him. His smile, passion and sense of humour were contagious and his love of the game was evident in the way he played it. He will be forever missed and always in the hearts and minds of those of us that love the game as much as he did.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

— Gary McAlister

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