Why technology could have saved Phillip Hughes's life

Modified 20 Mar 2019
Phil Hughes

Phillip Hughes of Australia was hit with a Sean Abbott bouncer on the head during a test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground two days ago. He was rushed for an emergency surgery to a hospital immediately.

After being in a critical condition for two days he passed away yesterday in the morning. He was only 25 years old. He was about to turn 26 this weekend. He was the youngest batsman in cricket history to score back-to-back centuries in a test match. His future was bright and beaming. And then the worst happened.

Life in the fast lane

Cricket is a great game to play. But there is an element of health risk involved, as there always is in any physical sport. You have a bowler launching a hard ball (weighing about 160 grams) at you at speeds sometimes going over 95 miles an hour. So yes, life is dangerous here. Hughes was wearing a helmet.

But he was unprotected beneath the helmet area at the back of his head. And as if struck by bad fortune, he was hit exactly in that area.

Safety equipment in cricket has evolved and improved over the years. You can see players wearing all kinds of equipment when they go out to bat. Yet incidents like these would immediately send a signal to improve and increase the protection equipment even further.

But if there is too much equipment it could be uncomfortable for the player. Not to mention, inconvenient and complicated to execute his shots. One other sport which portrays similar amount of safety equipment is American Football of the National Football League. Players look inflated and bulged in their equipment which is necessary to play with and to protect themselves from injury.

Still, wearing heavy gear does not affect their play on the field. I recommend that a similar undertaking is proposed in cricket as well.

Safety equipment in cricket

Technology and helmets

Cricket helmets have to be improved. The shell of the helmet at the back has to be extended downward covering the neck of the player. Having said that, it should not restrict the players from moving freely. Technology in cricket has improved by leaps and bounds since its inception.

So I believe that improvement in the standards of safety gear, especially the helmet, can be improved. I am not saying that this would completely eliminate any occurrence of an injury. But this would definitely reduce the probability of severe injury to the player.

Phil Hughes was just another young man who loved cricket. He went out there playing his dream and this freakish accident happens. Cricket was his source of income, his means of livelihood. He depended upon it and so did his family. And along his inspiring road to stardom, the unfortunate happened.

He was robbed of his dream. His best cricket was clearly ahead. I shouldn’t be saying this but if there is any consolation, he died doing what he loved the most.

Spare a thought for the bowler Sean Abbott. He was doing his job as a bowler – to get the batsman out. He just bowled a bouncer. It is just like the sliding tackle in football. Abbott must be feeling miserable now. He must be counseled and freed from his guilt. He did nothing wrong. Hopefully this does not affect his career.


Life over money, this test match should be abandoned to mourn Phil Hughes’ loss. This is a sad day for cricket and for sports in general. Our prayers are with Hughes’ family and his friends.

Rest In Peace mate.

Published 28 Nov 2014, 02:46 IST
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