Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland has described the death of Phil Hughes as a ‘real-life tragedy’.
The batsman, who would have been 26 on Sunday, died two days after being struck on the head by a bouncer while batting for South Australia against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Sutherland said: ‘’The word tragedy gets used far too often in sport but this freak accident is now a real-life tragedy.
‘’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.”
Hughes, who was wearing a protective helmet, collapsed face first onto the pitch after being hit by a ball on the back, lower left side of his head from pace bowler Sean Abbott as he attempted a pull shot.
He was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen on the boundary line after being carried off the pitch on a stretcher.
He was taken to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was being monitored in the intensive care unit.
However, the governing body today confirmed the worst.
Sutherland continued: “ ‘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 number 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.
“He will be sadly missed and forever remembered.’’