A tribute to Phillip Hughes
Lest we forget, cricket can be a dangerous sport. Sports adapt to dangers, safety becomes ever tighter and better but the gut-wrenching and ghastly news of Phillip Hughes's passing serves to tell us that sport and indeed cricket can never be considered entirely safe. Maybe motor-racing, boxing and mountaineering might spring more immediately to mind to suffer fatalities yet cricket, with its many nuances, might not appear to be in the same category. Mercifully, whilst there may have been shocking injuries, deaths have been rare and, whilst none of this will offer succour to Phillip's family and friends, the tributes flowing in, one hopes, will show them the high esteem in which he was held. My thoughts and deepest sympathy are very much with his family and friends at such a painful time.

There was something about Phillip which made him one of my favourite cricketers. Not getting closer than the TV to him, I admired what I saw as his diligent, determined yet happy appearance, his distinctive style and he was a guy I was always pleased to see do well. After twin centuries against South Africa in only his second Test, success didn’t come in quite the same measures thereafter but one sensed that there was a great decency to him and an urge to succeed in a thoroughly good, nice and conscientious way. Heck, don't we remember the vast number of runs he made in county cricket? 

Just shy of his 26th birthday, Phillip had all his life and cricketing career in front of him. It seems to me that putting his statistics down do not serve much purpose as, had he lived, they would undoubtedly have become much greater. The fact that, five years ago, he was an Australian opener and held in such high regard, is surely better and I will remember him for what I saw, albeit from a distance, of his gentlemanly qualities.

It seems entirely appropriate and good to see the support being given to Sean Abbott and it is to be hoped too that he can recover from this extremely sad episode.

Don't we all remember Ashton Agar's 98 at No 11 on debut? It was remarkable yet, after it ended, I was as delighted for Phillip whose unbeaten 81 on his return to the Australian side not only helped his own cause but helped make history - albeit now broken - and I hope that others, like me, remember his part in the stand. Sadly, with little further success in the series, the following Lord’s turned out to be his last.

In their statement and tribute to their son, so graciously read by Michael Clarke, the Hughes family are entirely correct to say that the word tragic is overused in sport today. A magnificent performance which fails to break a record or being dismissed for 99 is not a tragedy: it is premature disappointment for a player and his fans who should soon thereafter be able to look back on the performance with pride.  The loss of a young life with potentially so many years ahead of him seems even more tragic than it already is and, as Phillip Hughes’s funeral looms, the period between his demise and funeral seems, if anything, even worse. I am sure that many of us hope and pray that the Hughes family can come to terms with their grief and take great pride that their son achieved what many would love but few do: to represent their country and proudly wear the Baggy Green cap. And decently.