Aus­tralia’s Hughes crit­i­cal in in­ten­sive care after surgery

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralian crick­eter Phillip Hughes is in crit­i­cal con­di­tion in a Syd­ney hos­pi­tal after un­der­go­ing emer­gency surgery for a se­vere head in­jury suf­fered when he was struck on the hel­met by a ball dur­ing a do­mes­tic match yes­ter­day.

The 25-year-old bats­man was trans­ferred to St Vincent’s in­ten­sive care unit after surgery and his con­di­tion is not ex­pected to be­come clear for 24-48 hours.

“We’re all in shock,” Cricket Aus­tralia boss James Suther­land told re­porters in Mel­bourne, his voice trem­bling.

“All we know is that it’s se­ri­ous and he’s for­tu­nate to be in the best pos­si­ble place right now with ex­perts all around him.”

Fit­ted with a ven­ti­la­tor to aid his breath­ing, Hughes was rushed from the Syd­ney Cricket Ground in an in­duced coma, hav­ing col­lapsed to the ground when hit by the de­liv­ery from New South Wales fast bowler Sean Ab­bott.

Hughes, who had been touted to re­place in­jured Aus­tralia cap­tain Michael Clarke for next week’s Test match against In­dia, had scored 63 runs for South Aus­tralia in the Sh­effield Shield match be­fore be­ing hit.

Ap­par­ently dazed by the blow, the left-han­der stooped and put his hands on his knees be­fore fall­ing face first onto the pitch, prompt­ing play­ers and med­i­cal staff to rush to his aid. The match was later called off. Though of­ten viewed as a gen­teel game, cricket’s fastest bowlers reg­u­larly de­liver the ball at speeds of over 140km/h and bats­men de­fend them­selves with a wooden bat less than a me­tre long and about four inches wide.

A cricket ball is roughly the same shape and size as a base­ball but heav­ier and harder.

While bats­men are heav­ily padded, they of­ten sus­tain painful and per­fectly le­gal blows from fast bowlers, who have full li­cense to launch de­liv­er­ies that bounce up at head height.

Balls oc­ca­sion­ally strike bats­men on the hel­met, some­times draw­ing blood on im­pact, but the se­ri­ous­ness of Hughes’s in­jury shocked sea­soned cricket writ­ers and play­ers alike.

“Thoughts are with Phil Hughes. Ter­ri­ble to see and just shows how dan­ger­ous our game can be,” Aus­tralia leg-spin­ner James Muir­head tweeted.

Hughes was placed on a mo­torised stretcher and taken to the edge of the field where med­i­cal staff per­formed mouth-to-mouth re­sus­ci­ta­tion be­fore he was rushed to hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance.

After scans at the hos­pi­tal, he was taken straight into surgery. Aus­tralia cap­tain Clarke ar­rived to check on Hughes at the hos­pi­tal, where the stricken bats­man’s mother and sis­ter were also present.

News of the in­jury sparked a wave of sym­pa­thy from the global crick­et­ing com­mu­nity and fans on so­cial me­dia.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with phil and his fam­ily! He is a great fighter and a great young man!” Aus­tralia coach Dar­ren Lehmann tweeted.

The Eng­land and Wales Cricket board tweeted: “Thoughts with SPhil Hughes and his fam­ily from all at ECB. Get well soon.”

A popular team player born in a small town in north­ern New South Wales state, the pint-sized Hughes played 26 Tests and 25 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als for Aus­tralia, but never quite ce­mented his place in the na­tional set-up.

Hughes has long strug­gled to shake off per­cep­tions of vul­ner­a­bil­ity against short-pitched bowl­ing, but with Clarke in­jured, he was backed to re­gain a spot in the Test team for the first match in Bris­bane against In­dia start­ing De­cem­ber 4. – Reuters

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