Tragedies are a part of life, and thus part and parcel of all that’s in it. In this case, cricket.

I’ll be thoroughly honest with you now, I had no clue who Phillip Hughes was – that is, until he played against Pakistan nearly a month ago. Then too I didn’t get too good a glimpse of him.

The lad’s untimely, sudden and distressing death cast a dark cloud over the cricketing world. Initially, upon hearing the news of his injury I had hoped he’d get well soon. The news of his death was broken to me by my mother, who was evidently already saddened over the incident, but I took time swallowing it in. At that very moment I said all I could’ve said for a person I hardly knew, I prayed for his soul to rest in peace.

Upon scouring the internet I saw tributes picking up momentum and memorials being written already, therefore curiosity got the best out of the better of me and I researched Phill’s remarkable career.  I’ve taken my time coming to terms with this incident and therefore this piece has come this late.

His test average was a healthy 32.65, he also owned an ODI average of 35.91. His Test hundreds were 3, test fifties were 7. ODI hundreds were 2 and ODI fifties were 5. You may not consider these stats worth mentioning, but let me tell you these numbers are deceiving. Take a look at him batting and then you will be more than welcome to come to a conclusion on your own. In just his second test match he scored his maiden century, and with 1 required to reach it he slammed a sixer to greet his 3 digit score. When he was on the pitch Phill seemed to be the happiest and the busiest person on the planet. He was the youngest person to score a century, at the age of 19. He never really went by the book, you could sense a country boy in every shot of his, there was also an essence of tennis in his game. The Australian Board expected runs from him, and that he delivered. He also became the youngest person to score a century in each innings of a test in 2009 against South Africa. In that very series he thrashed the pacers, namely Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. At his height it should’ve been difficult for him to play them short balls well, but he did. He always did, and that soon became his weapon. In July of 2014, he became the only Aussie to hit a double-century in a List A match. In August this year, he made the highest score of his career, an unbeaten 243 for Australia A. At his last match he was on his way to yet another hundred, but that was never to be. Phillip Hughes will stay 63* not out forever.

It became apparent to me that too talented a life had been taken too soon. As far as I managed to analyse, Phillip Hughes had a long, long career ahead of him and perhaps Michael Clarke rightly suggested that the lad would’ve gone on to play more than a hundred test matches, he was, after all, Test material.  The captain was indeed right too when he said, “the world is now a poorer place” because of this great loss.

Never has the cricketing world been any more united then it has become over this incident. This terrible loss, this great tragedy. This short but well written tale, this lasting legacy. This quiet but well tuned song, sung by the sound of ball on bat.

Not to be ignored is a person who could be easily called the only person on earth right now with the guiltiest conscience. I’m not saying that Sean Abbott should be held guilty, nor am I in favour of any action being taken against him. Sure he’s being kept in the company of sympathizers and is being counselled, but to what extent can you control what he’ll think of when he goes to bed and when he wakes up in the morning, can you or anyone stop the feelings of guilt from feeding on him? The answer is an obvious no. So you know what the best thing to do will be at the moment? Stop discussing whether bouncers will be banned, whether action will be taken against players who unintentionally hurt another player, whether this incident will provoke changes in the laws this game is played by. Because if changes are made, Sean will definitely feel that all this has been brought about by him – a feeling he wouldn’t embrace with all his heart and soul (nor would you or I welcome it if we were in his place). Constant debates on the mass media on these issues are only likely to make this worse for him and Phill’s family.

If you’re a Pakistan fan, do you like it when the media keeps discussing a disgustingly embarrassing defeat we’ve suffered?

As a South African, do you like it when the tag attached to your team is constantly brought up and predictions made on the basis of the tag (even though the team now sits on the cricketing throne)?

As an Indian, do you like it when the media thrashes and slashes MS Dhoni or any other Indian cricketer when you lose an important match?

As an Aussie, do you like it that you’re genuinely labelled as a team that lacks basic table manners?

As an English, do you like it when your team is literally slaughtered by the Aussies and months later the media chooses to refresh your wounds?

Then what makes you even consider the thought that it is now imperative to talk of bouncers and laws and accountability? What could make you so inhumane that you’d willingly sour up a wound? This argument definitely has the same (if not a worse) effect on Sean who wouldn’t want to relive those horrible memories, but where is he to look? Where can a man take shelter when he is n’t being allowed to move on?

It is certain and obvious that no action needs to be taken regarding anything (if people are itching for any action to be taken regarding anything, I suggest you either take action against all bowlers to test whether they all bowl legally or you take action over Ahmad Shahzad’s incredibly indecent act of preaching religion on the pitch), no changes need to be made to the law (at least when it comes to those that somehow relate to this incident), and bouncers most definitely are not to be, and will not be, banned.

 

The end. Discussion over. Chapter closed. Mouth shut.

 

 

By: Fatima Arshad