It is difficult explaining sadness – not to anybody else but to myself. Why should I be feeling sad because someone staying miles away, who didn't have any clue of my existence, whom I didn't have any chance or desire of ever meeting, has died?
But then, I am feeling quite sad right now. Like happiness, one cannot force this feeling. The feeling of sadness. Because this comes from within. This comes because deep down you have been hurt by something. I think something has hurt me.
I am sad. While the moment I read that Phil Hughes had lost consciousness after being hit on head, I was worried. I am not a medical expert but what I know about head injuries is that getting blacked out after being hit on the head is not a good news.
Alas, it didn't turn out to be a good news.
What do I know about him? First time I heard about me was when a colleague informed me that Australia has unleashed a freak batsman who was proving to be quite a headache for South African bowling attack.
Headache for South Africans. That must be something special.
I asked back what was so special about him.
“He plays in quite a strange way. He is freak” was the answer I got.
I watched him bat once in that series. He was quite a freak. His footwork was strange. Half the time he was in the air. He must have been the tiniest of Australian cricketers. Strange he was. Freak.
Soon he lost his place in the side. Them came back I think. Then lost it.
Sometime in between that going out and coming back, a legendary phenomena was discovered –
Phil Hughes Caught Guptil Bowled Martin.
No matter where Martin Guptil was fielding on ground, if it was Chris Martin bowling to Hughes, Hughes found Guptil with precision and handed over a dolly to him. It happened four times in a row during Australia-NZ test series. Four freakish times. There were jokes all across the planet. Quite a freak way to get out it was.
I remember making fun of Phil Hughes during Australia’s tour to India in 2013 which Australia lost by 4-0. Phil Hughes couldn't put bat to ball. Then in the final innings when all was lost, he managed to score a half century. Somehow he managed to do it.
He once came to India as well – maybe wanted to learn yoga to help improve his cricket. I laughed at that too.
Apart from that, I don’t know much about him as a cricketer. To me, he was like many other cricketers in Australia who were getting a chance to play because of the transition phase.
But when I heard about him being hit on head, I was worried. His demise has made me sad, really sad.
Well, 25 isn't the age when you close your eyes forever. But then, you do not decide it. Almighty does. What are we in front of almighty?
More than that, cricket field isn’t a place which could be so lethal. Cricket is a passion – most of us share it. Lot of us grew up playing and dreaming to become a Tendulkar or a Dravid or a Kumble. Some kids would surely be growing up dreaming to bat like Phil Hughes. Cricket field is a place where you dream and hope they come true. It isn't a place to lose life. It isn't a place to die. After all, it is just a game. And Cricket field is no war zone.
But then, he did lose his life. How? In a freak accident.
While playing, we all must have got injured many a times. We've seen batsmen getting hit on head, chest, unmentionable parts. We've seen them falling flat on the ground, being carried away, getting operated, in plasters and all that. But they have all come back. If not to the ground, to life surely.
Phill Hughes didn't. Such freak was his nature of injury that doctors have claimed hardly a 100 cases have been reported till date.
Raman Lamba’s sad demise can be attributed to the fact that he wasn't wearing a helmet. Surely, a helmet would have saved him.
But Hughes? He was well protected. He was wearing all he could. How often do you see someone getting hit at the back of the had, just below where helmet ends, on the neck. How often such injuries have been dangerous, forget being lethal.
In his case, it all happened. If it’s God who takes decisions, he did. Well, God must be quite a moody person. And death must be quite a determined tool to have found such a rare way to reach Phil Hughes.
This accident does teach us about the fragility of life. How quickly it all can end. How quickly. And we wouldn't even know it.
Hughes didn't know that he was playing the last ball of his life. I don’t know if I shall be alive next second or not. You don’t know it either. It can all end even before we realize it.
Hence, value it. Value life. Savor every moment you have because you don’t know which one could be your last. Enjoy till it lasts. It wouldn't last forever.
In the end, I have a few words for Phil.
You didn't know me. I wasn't your fan. But we shared one thing – our passion for cricket. But to see a 25 year old go while living his dream, does make me sad. Extremely sad.
While you are travelling to up heavens, please convey my regards to that great man – Sir Don Bradman. You are in his team now.