If you think that all a misjudged bouncer might bring a batsman is an awkward way to lose his wicket, Phil Hughes’ unfortunate death might permanently change that perspective. As the 25-year-old Hughes leaves the planet, three days short of turning 26, suffering a killer blow to his head in a Sheffield Shield match, let us have a glance at the career of this brilliant cricketer who perished without even showing the world half the talent he possessed. After all, it was just one misjudged short ball. Just one.
Phillip Hughes, left, with his elder brother Jason. The cricketer was born in Macksville where he spent the early years of his childhood, a small town on the north coast of New South Wales.
#2 First class debut at the age of 18
The left hander made his first class debut for New South Wales in 2007 in a Pura Cup fixture (Sheffield Shield was known as Pura Cup between 1999 and 2008). He was only 18 years and 355 days old then, scoring 51 runs as an opener against Tasmania at Sydney.
#3 Maiden first class ton to win Pura Cup final
The cricketer helped NSW win the Pura Cup (2007-08 season), smashing his maiden first class century in the final against Victoria. After falling for 6 in the first innings, Hughes came back to score 116 in the second. NSW won by 258 runs in the end. He also became the youngest to score a century in the final of the competition.
#4 Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year in 2009
As a reward for his exploits, the youngster was named as the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year in 2009.
#5 Youngest to score two hundreds in a Test
At the age of 20, in what was on his second Test, the player entered the history books, as the youngest ever in the history to score two centuries in a match. The batsman scored 115 and 160 against the likes of Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis at Durban, 2009.
#6 Wanted to have a cattle farm post retirement
After his impressive first tour to South Africa, the player returned to help his banana-farming father with their plantation. He wished to have a stud cattle farm with his father post retirement.
#8 Champions League T20 win, 2009
The player shone in the T20 format for New South Wales in the 2009 edition of the Champions League T20, finishing as the third highest run scorer behind Cape Cobras’ JP Duminy and teammate and close friend David Warner.
#9 Michael Clarke applauding Hughes\' fifty
Hughes enjoyed a great rapport with his skipper and close friend Michael Clarke. The two were so close to each other and here you can see the happiness on Clarke’s face on seeing his friend reach his half century against Sri Lanka, Hobart, December 2012. Apart from his international skipper, Hughes was more close to fellow opener David Warner among all New South Wales teammates.
#9 Highest T20 score
For someone who is better known as a Test match specialist, blasting an unbeaten 87 tohelp his side win a T20 match is the right way to provethe critics wrong. In theFriends Life T20 game for Worcestershire in June, 2012, Hughes knock resulted in a 19-run win.
#11 Century on ODI debut
Hughes made a steady 112 on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Melbourne, 2013. He remains the only Australian to score a hundred on ODI debut.
#12 A team man
In the following ODI, Hughes kept wickets for 9 overs after Brad Haddin went off the field with a head injury.
#13 Named Domestic Cricketer of the year 2013
Having scored 1108 runs across all formats at the average of 55.40 in the period of consideration, Hughes was named as the domestic player of the year in 2013.
#14 First Australian to score a double century in a List A match
On 29 July, 2014, Hughes became the first Australian batsman to score a double hundred (202 off 151 balls) in a limited overs game. Playing for Australia A, he achieved the milestone against South Africa A in the Quadrangular A team ODI tournament that also involved India A and Australia’s National Performance Squad. The knock included 18 fours and 6 sixes, helping Australia to a 148-run win at Darwin. Interestingly, Hughes reached the landmark with a six off the final ball of the innings
Note: Women cricketer Belinda Clark had earlier hit 229 not out in 1997.
#15 Highest first class score
In August 2014, the batsman registered his highest first class score of 243* against South Africa A in a drawn game at Townsville. Another interesting fact is Hughes’ highest scores across all three formats are all unbeaten knocks: 87* for Worcestershire in a T20; 138* in an ODI against Sri Lanka.
#16 The final innings
Playing for South Australia against his former side NSW on 25 November 2014, the 25-year-old helped himself to a fine half century in what turned out to be his final innings.
#17 The fatal blow
Hughes was batting on 63, when the opener couldn’t refrain himself from committing to this short pitch delivery from young Sean Abbott, as he was ducking and leaving a lot of bouncers till this point. The batsman misjudged the delivery and was hit on the back of his neck which made him fall face-first to the ground in a matter of seconds.
#17 The mourning
The Australian cricketers andfamily members were seen coming out ofSt Vincent's Hospital, mourning the death ofthe poor lad. Not just them, the entire cricket fraternity is.