Australian Phillip Hughes has undergone surgery and remains in a critical condition after suffering a sickening blow to the head during the Sheffield Shield cricket match between New South Wales and South Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Hughes was taken to hospital after the blow left him motionless on the pitch on day one of the match.
Three ambulances and a medivac helicopter which landed in the middle of the ground attended to 25-year-old Hughes after he was struck midway through the day. Play was suspended when he left the field and then abandoned after he was conveyed to St Vincent’s Hospital by ambulance. Players and officials were comforted at pitchside as Hughes was treated.
Hughes had made 63, playing well against his former state and in contention for the spot to be vacated by the injured captain Michael Clarke in the team for the first Test in Brisbane next week.
But in trying to push along his score, Hughes attempted a hook at the fast medium of Sean Abbott and was hit as he turned his head to one side, a blow that drew blood.
Too quickly through his shot, Hughes was struck on the left rear side of the head, below the helmet.
For a few moments he stood, bent over head down and reeling from the impact before collapsing, face first, onto the pitch – a second hefty blow to the head in itself. Distressed players gesticulated for assistance and team medical staff were quickly out onto the field, where Hughes was tended to before a motorised stretcher carried him, still motionless, from the ground.
Play was suspended as he was treated in front of the Members Stand by the Cricket NSW doctor John Orchard, receiving mouth to mouth and also oxygen while players and officials waited for the arrival of an ambulance. David Warner stood by Hughes’ side for much of this time, while his Redbacks batting partner Tom Cooper removed his pads.
Efforts to get Hughes breathing again appeared to be successful, and it was eventually decided to take him to hospital which confirmed that Hughes was in an induced coma after surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
Meanwhile Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan has urged the International Cricket Council(ICC) to define ‘chucking’ in cricket and do it quickly.
The game is in the midst of a clampdown on chucking, with suspect bowlers being reported on a weekly basis, something that Muralitharan is in favour of, but he wants it to go even further.
The current limit is for 15 degrees of bend in the arm when bowling, but he wants to see comprehensive research done on spinners and fast bowlers before a judgement is made on what should and shouldn’t be legal.
Muralitharan believes genuinely quick bowlers might be surprised at how much their arm bends when they bowl a bouncer, a far more physically-dangerous ball than a spinner’s doosra.