The world of Cricket has united in paying tribute to the Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, who has died after being hit by a ball.
Hughes passed away two days after being struck on the helmet by a delivery from New South Wales bowler Sean Abbott, in what has been described as a “freakish” injury by Australia team doctor Peter Brukner.
Australia’s captain Michael Clarke read out a statement on behalf of the Hughes family, saying, “We’re devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother Phillip. It’s been a very difficult few days.
“We appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public.
“Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you.”
Hughes’s coach Darren Lehmann was one of the first to pay tribute to his player on Twitter.
RIP you little champ, we are all going to miss you ! Love, prayers to all the Hughes family xxxx
— Darren Lehmann (@darren_lehmann) November 27, 2014
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said online that Hughes was “just far too young”, adding that his thoughts were also with bowler Sean Abbott.
Melbourne Cricket Ground, the home of Australian cricket, flew flags at half mast as a mark of respect.
The MCG flags are at half mast following news of Phil Hughes' tragic passing. An unspeakable tragedy. pic.twitter.com/9ngPy9wJE9
— Melbourne Cricket Ground (@MCG) November 27, 2014
Ian Botham asked his followers to “spare a thought for Sean Abbott”.
A very sad day for the world of cricket. So sorry for Phillip Hughes and his family .
Spare a thought for Sean Abbott.
— Ian Botham (@BeefyBotham) November 27, 2014
Former Australian teammate Brett Lee shared this photo of him and Hughes.
No words can describe the loss ???? Rip pic.twitter.com/3kOm5MkVsc
— Brett Lee (@BrettLee_58) November 27, 2014
Ex-Indian star Sachin Tendulkar, former Australian bowler Shane Warne, teammate David Warner and commentator Jonathan Agnew were also among the thousands of people paying tribute online and offering their support to 22-year-old Abbott.
Team doctor Brukner said that Hughes had died as a result of “vertebral artery dissection” after being hit on the top of the neck. The main artery leading to the brain split, causing a “massive bleed” in the brain.
Hughes was wearing a helmet at the time. Brukner said, “Vertebral artery dissection is incredibly rare. If you look in the literature, there is only 100 cases reported. There is only one previous example caused by a cricket ball.”
Former England captain Andrew Strauss said on Sky Sports News, “The most sickening aspect of all of this is that he was a guy in the best years of his life and that was extinguished out of the blue.
“He was only 25 and to have achieved what he did in such a short period of time was extraordinary. He was modifying his game all the time as well.
“It is a tragedy that he is gone in terms of cricket, but that pales into insignificance when compared to what his friends and family are going through.”