Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland has expressed the game’s devastation at the passing of Phillip Hughes today aged 25.
Hughes passed away today after being hit by a bouncer on Tuesday, he never regained consciousness.
Here’s the moving eulogy Sutherland delivered today at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney shortly after Hughes passed away.
“The word tragedy gets used far too often in sport but this freak accident is now a real-life tragedy. Just shy of his 26th birthday, Phillip has been taken from us far too young,” Sutherland said.
“It’s an understatement to say that we are completely devastated. Our grief runs deep and the impact of Phillip’s loss is enormous but nothing compares to the loss felt by those closest to him.
“Phillip was a cherished son, brother, friend and team mate.
“In these darkest of hours cricket puts its collective arms around the Hughes family. To his parents Virginia and Greg and siblings Megan and Jason we offer our love and endless support.
“As a cricketer, Phillip was an incredibly talented and dearly loved member of the Australian, South Australian and Adelaide Strikers squads and a former NSW representative. He also played county cricket in England and IPL in India. Without doubt he was a rising star whose best cricket was still ahead of him.
“Hughesy, Huey or Hue-Dog as he was known to many of his mates was much-loved. You only have to sift through the thousands of messages of support, prayers and well wishes for Phillip from cricketers and supporters the world over to understand the affection felt towards him.
“He will forever be remembered as one of the elite few to have worn the Baggy Green cap – cap 408 to be precise. He was a hero to kids around the nation, particularly those in the region around his home town of Macksville in New South Wales that he did so proud in his 26 Test matches – a tally that looked certain to grow, but now sadly never will.
“The National Selectors had certainly identified him as having a long-term future in the game. It was only a few days ago when announcing the first Test team for the forthcoming Indian series that National Selector Rod Marsh said, ‘He’s a helluva good batsman. He is a very, very good young player who has got 26 first-class hundreds.’
“We all vividly remember his explosive entrance to Test cricket. In 2009, in only his second Test and at the tender age of 20, Phillip blasted back-to-back centuries against South Africa and only last year showed his class again when he became the first Australian batsman in the history of ODI cricket to score a century on debut.
“But it was Phillip as a person that we will miss most. He was a classic example of his country upbringing – humble, understated and hard working. When the chips were down or he had a setback he simply got on with the job and worked harder. He set a wonderful example to any young person seeking to make their way in life.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to send our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s teammates at a national, state and grade level as well as the wider New South Wales and South Australian cricket communities.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the Phillip’s teammates and opponents, the Australian cricket’s medical staff and those at St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney for the care they showed him.
“And as I said earlier our hearts go out to the Hughes family right now.
“Phillip Joel Hughes played 26 Test matches for his country. He will be sadly missed and forever remembered.”
The International Cricket Council has also delivered its deepest condolences.
“We are all shocked and saddened with the news of Phillip’s passing. On behalf of the entire cricket community, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends,” ICC chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan said.
ICC chief executive David Richardson added Hughes was a talented cricketer.
“He was a naturally gifted player who entertained many with his attacking approach to the game. All those who play, have played or are in any way connected to the game are devastated by the news. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy at this difficult time,” he said.
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