By Greg Barrie
Cricket players past and present have sent messages of support to Phil Hughes following the Australian batsman’s serious head injury during a match in Sydney today.
Hughes is in a critical condition in hospital after being struck on the head by a fast-bowl at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a Sheffield Shield match.
The South-Australian batsman collapsed after a delivery from New South Wales bowler Sean Abbott missed his helmet and struck him on the head.
Hughes was stretchered off the field and taken to hospital, where he was put into an induced coma following surgery.
The world of cricket has offered its support to Phil Hughes throughout the day.
The sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council, posted a message of support on Twitter, saying “Thoughts of the entire cricket community are with Philip Hughes now”.
Hughes’ fellow Australian batsman David Warner, who was fielding for New South Wales when the incident occurred , rode alongside Hughes when he was wheeled off the field.
He wrote on Twitter: “Thoughts are with my little mate Hughesy and his family. He is a fighter and a champion and he will get through this. Praying for you buddy.”
Avid England cricket fan Piers Morgan also took to Twitter to show support for the Australian. He wrote: “Awful news about Australian cricketer Phil Hughes – hit on the head by a bouncer today and very seriously ill. Praying for him.”
A number of England cricketers also wrote messages on social media, with James Anderson posting: “Awful news about Phil Hughes. Sickening to hear. Praying for him and his family.”
Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland offered his support to Hughes and all of the other players who took part in the match.
He said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil Hughes. We are also thinking of his family, team-mates and friends in the Australian cricket family.
“His welfare is our highest priority. We’re also naturally concerned about all of those involved in today’s game and will be giving them our utmost support.”
Hughes, who has played 26 Test matches for his country, was in contention for a recall to the Test side following reports that captain Michael Clarke might be ruled out of the opening match against India on 4 December.
He was taken to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital by an ambulance, accompanied by the doctor who treated him on the field.
Hughes is the first batsman to a suffer life threatening head injury since the introduction of the helmet to the sport in the 1970s.
There have however been a number of incidents in which both batsmen and wicket-keepers were injured despite wearing helmets.
In August this year, England’s Stuart Broad suffered a broken nose when he struck a fast-paced bowl into the gap between the peak of his helmet and the grille.
The last Test batsman to suffer life-threatening injuries was Nari Contractor, the Indian captain hit on the head by Charlie Griffith during the 1961-62 series in the West Indies.
He survived after emergency brain surgery, but never played Test cricket again.
Indian batsman Raman Lamba was killed after being hit on the head while playing in Bangladesh in 1998, but was not wearing a helmet at the time.