Aspiring test batsmen Phil Hughes has been taken to hospital and is in a critical condition after being knocked out by a bouncer during a match at the SCG this afternoon.
New South Wales was playing South Australia in the opening day of their Sheffield Shield match when the left-handed opening batsman attempted to pull a short ball from NSW paceman Sean Abbott.
Hughes had scored 63 off 161 balls before being struck on the back of his head. The batsman bent over with his hand on his knee for a few seconds, still holding his bat, before collapsing face first onto the pitch.
An air ambulance helicopter landed on the outfield and doctors performed CPR on the field after Hughes was stretchered from the pitch and shrouded by screens.
He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst by road ambulance and arrived on life support.
Australia captain Michael Clark went to see Hughes a short time later.
Play was abandoned.
The 25-year-old from the NSW mid north coast made his debut for Australia in 2009 against South Africa and the youngest cricketer ever to score back-to-back centuries in a test match. But he was subsequently dropped during the Ashes series after he struggled with the short ball. Both talented and erratic, Hughes has been in and out of the test side ever since, and was pushing for a return against India next week in Brisbane.
When he started playing one-day cricket in January last year, Hughes became the first Australian batsman in ODI history to score a century on debut. He played in first Twenty20 for Australia last month against Pakistan.
Late this afternoon, a spokesperson for St Vincents said Hughes was surrounded by family and was undergoing surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
It will take 24 to 48 hours to know the outcome of the surgery, his family said in a statement.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said that the injury was serious, but its exact nature was still unknown.
He described Hughes as a “quiet achiever”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil Hughes and his family and friends,” Sutherland said.
UPDATE: Just after 5.25pm, St Vincent’s Hospital announced Hughes was out of surgery but remains in a critical condition.
Former test player Adam Gilchrist summed up the thoughts of many in a shocked cricket community
— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) November 25, 2014
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) November 25, 2014
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