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Tragic death of Phillip Hughes changed cricket forever
Phillip Hughes 1988-2014

Tragic death of Phillip Hughes changed cricket forever

Cricket fraternity is paying tribute to Phillip Hughes who departed five years ago on November 27 but the harrowing incident still haunts the cricket world.

He got hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match that resulted in a brain haemorrhage and he passed away two days later after the blow — just a few days before his 26th birthday.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Kevin Roberts mentioned Hughes as the 'very best'. He played 26 Tests and 25 ODIs for Australia and was regarded as a very promising cricketer.

The flamboyant southpaw was picked as a replacement for Matthew Hayden for South Africa tour in 2009. He smashed two centuries on the trot against Proteas and that too only in his second international Test which spoke volumes about the talented batsman that - sadly - cricket lost too early. 

Fans across the globe were jolted and shared their grief on social media and people from all walks of life shared their heartfelt condolences.

Phillip was slated to cement his spot in the middle order. He was a great timer of the ball, endowed with fluid wrists, very strong square of the wicket and was just beginning to find his feet at the highest level.

"A man dedicated to his family, a loyal friend, a popular teammate and a prodigiously talented cricketer," Roberts said.

"There hasn't been a single day over these last five years when Phillip's loss hasn't been felt acutely by the Australian cricket family.

"He remains in the hearts of players, coaches, staff, volunteers and fans across Australia and around the world. He always will.

Steve Smith said time passes quickly while recounting the devastating incident and said some of his teammates were very close to Phil and they vividly remember the once young shining star of Australian cricket. 

"I think some of the boys here were pretty close to Phillip and five years actually it’s gone pretty quick. I dare say some of the boys will reflect and think about our little mate that’s for sure," Smith said.

Hughes batted brilliantly on that fateful day; he scored 63 against the likes of Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon but on the third ball of the 49th over from Sean Abbott, a searing bumper wasn't tugged away properly and what followed remains a chilling incident in the minds of every ardent cricket fan.

Thereafter, bouncers weren't celebrated the same way and often triggered painful memories of the heartbreaking tragedy.

Hailing from a small town in Macksville, he made an impression early in his age as he possessed oodles of talent and struck 26 first-class centuries. 

Following the news of his death, the Test against India was shifted from the Gabba to Adelaide - his second home and was started five days later from the scheduled date.

 Matthew Wade got a tattoo of Phillip Hughes ©Getty Images

Matthew Wade got a tattoo of Phillip Hughes ©Getty Images

The entire cricket family was shellshocked by the sudden demise of Philip who sustained a brain haemorrhage and after his death, neck guards were introduced in the game and several other measures were taken for players' protection - including mandatory concussion test whenever a player gets hit on the head.

A lot more needs to be done in the realm of players safety as neck guards aren't enforced always and the recent instance of Steve Smith's concussion in Ashes when he received a nasty blow from Jofra Archer's short ball makes it incumbent upon cricket boards to continue their research to introduce better equipment.

Michael Clarke was the captain back then who managed Philip and he paid tribute to the much-loved cricketer in Australia.

"Every day I think of you, but this week even more. Wish you were here buddy,"

His teammate Peter Siddle, veteran pacer of Australia, shared how he can never forget his teammate and it looks like Philip shared great camaraderie with many big names of Australian cricket.

"Every time I step onto the field you’re always with me brother. Love you and miss you braz!" Peter Siddle said.