Lancashire stars past and present have poured out their sympathies and sadness at the death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes.
The club itself led the tributes after Cricket Australia announced that Hughes had passed away on Thursday afternoon in Sydney, the country’s captain Michael Clarke reading out a statement from Hughes’ family.
Hughes’ dashing style at the crease helped him become the only batsman in history to average 40+ domestically in all three formats of the game: first class cricket, List A one-day games and Twenty20.
A statement on Lancashire’s website said: “LCCC would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Australia batsman Phil Hughes.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP Phil.”
The Australia opener was 63 not out when he was struck by a bouncer from fast bowler Sean Abbott while batting for South Australia against New South Wales.
The game was abandoned when Hughes was air-lifted to hospital, having collapsed at the crease: he never regained consciousness.
Hughes played for Middlesex, Worcestershire, and Hampshire during years spent in England, and also featured in the 2009 and 2013 Ashes series, against the likes of Lancashire legend Andrew Flintoff.
— andrew flintoff (@flintoff11) November 27, 2014
Flintoff was one of a number of Lancashire players past and present to Tweet their condolences.
Devastating news. So tragic. Massive loss to the sport. Thoughts go out to his friends, family and team mates #RIPPhilHughes
— Jordan Clark (@Clarksy16) November 27, 2014
Australia …We unite with you at this tragic time .Phil was your Champion
— David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) November 27, 2014
Bowler Abbott, along with a number of players on both sides, is said not to have left the ground until midnight, despite the incident happening at just after two o’clock that afternoon.
Thoughts are with Sean Abbot aswell, simply doing his job has changed his life forever! #RIPPhilHughes
— Liam Livingstone (@liaml4893) November 27, 2014
Hughes was an unconventional player, memorably bringing up his maiden test hundred with two sixes off Paul Harris against South Africa.
Having made a duck on Test debut, he showed great character to score two hundreds in his second game, the youngest player ever to achieve the feat of a ton in each innings.
In the same year he won the prestigious Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, although it was another two years until he made his next, and last, test century.
Having been dropped after a run of single figure scores in England in 2013, he remained part of the one-day set-up, reminding the selectors and spectators of the world of his prodigious talent with a stunning double hundred against South Africa A.
His last international appearance was in an ODI against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, making just five before being trapped LBW by Sohail Tanvir in a game Australia went on to win by one run.
However, just three days shy of his 26th birthday and primed to be recalled to the Australia team to replace his injured captain and friend Clarke, he will always be remembered as an unorthodox, talented, aggressive batsman, who had his whole career ahead of him.
His death is a jarring blow to cricket and sport the world over.
Main image courtesy of Channel 7 via YouTube, with thanks.