TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
PHIL Hughes’ death in Sydney on Thursday has resonated with Old Selbornians, the East London club who know only too well how the cricket world feels right now.
On October 27 last year, Darryn Randall was playing for Old Boys in a league match against Fort Hare in Alice when he was felled by a bouncer and declared dead on arrival at a local hospital.
Australian test opener Hughes died after being hit in the neck by a delivery while batting for South Australia in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
The blow split an artery and caused massive bleeding on Hughes’ brain. He was resuscitated and had emergency surgery, but died in hospital yesterday. He was 25.
Old Boys cricket section president Gary Watson said on Thursday a parent of one of club’s players would travel to Australia on Friday to present Cricket Australia with a framed letter of condolence and a club shirt as a gesture of support and solidarity.
“The suggestion came from the players,” Watson said yesterday, who added that those who had witnessed the Randall incident “are still traumatised”.
“It affected them properly,” Watson said. “Can you imagine batting with your partner and your buddy, and a minute later he’s dead at the other end?
“A month ago today we stood around the wicket at Old Boys, and had a beer and remembered him.”
The world’s media has been flooded with tributes to Hughes.
SA test captain Hashim Amla said his death had “resonated with me and many in the cricket world family”.
“He was a fellow player and this news has certainly hit my heart,” Amla said. “I personally admired him for his mettle and the way he made a mountain of runs despite an unorthodox style.”
Tony Irish, the chief executive of the SA Cricketers’ Association and the executive chair of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, said in a statement that “players and players’ associations around the world who have all expressed shock and sadness over Phil’s death”.
“Phil was a popular and respected cricketer not only in Australia and amongst Australian players but also amongst other players around the world,” Irish said. “I speak on behalf of the world’s professional cricketers in saying what a tragic loss this is of a young man who would have had many years of international cricket ahead of him.”
All three Sheffield Shield matches being played at the time Hughes was injured were abandoned as draws, and the second day’s play in the third test between Pakistan and New Zealand in Sharjah was postponed from Thursday to Friday.
All five grades of Sydney league cricket this weekend have been called off, as has as a tour match India were due to play in Adelaide today and tomorrow.
Thursday’s planned announcement of next season’s county fixtures in England was put on hold.