The last time a cricket death affected me so much was when Peter Roebuck had committed suicide. So much has come out after the news of Phillip Hughes’ death today that anything I would say would sound redundant and repetitive.
I just wanted to say how much I wanted this guy to do well. As a child we (my brother and I) had an EA Sports Cricket 2005 game on PC that we borrowed from our cousin Rajiv in Bongaigaon. We spent countless hours trying to win the same tournament again and again. We had this one particular player named Phil Jaques who I loved putting into the Australian team at no. 3 instead of Ricky Ponting because he was left-handed batsman (I bat left-handed too and my favorite batsman have always been left-handed; Andy Flower, Andy Blignaut, Adam Gilchrist, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh. I always copied their stance and backlift when we played in our backyard). Except, Phil Jaques was never picked for the actual Aussie cricket team as many times as Hayden or Langer or Gilchrist (all lefties here). So I loved him as a fan sitting away on a game console could (and I still think of him as ‘my’ player; i.e., the player I backed). Phil Jaques retired some seasons ago. I still follow his scores online as I go into my Masters in university.
Then I started following Phil Hughes. He seemed like the ideal replacement. And then he became ‘my’ player. The one I backed when he was dropped from the team. A lefty who kept playing dangerously across the line more than anyone else. Not like Chanderpaul or Michael Yardy. This guy had class and grace. I knew he was going to be back. Just like Shaun Marsh, another lefty I love watching. The straight back lift is stiff like a ballerina’s. It looks painful. I know Shaun Marsh will always be ‘my’ player.
Sometimes you root for these cricketers even though you know you will never see them or know them. Their achievements make you happy. Their bad days bog you down. Today, I did not want Phil Hughes to score well or play across the line when an off-spinner bowls around the wicket. Today I just wanted him to survive the day.
I understand Jarrod Kimber’s feelings completely. He was ‘my’ player too.