He was just three days away from completing 26. A high-profile test series against India and the World Cup at home were waiting in the near future.
Yet, Phillip Joel Hughes couldn't survive the challenge that was thrown at him in a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground where he was hit behind his head by a bouncer. [Phil Hughes passes away after receiving fatal injury on pitch]
A Nari Contractor-like incident is rare today
Chances of anybody today getting hit on the head while batting like Nari Contractor during a tour of the West Indies in 1962 is quite less for the margin of safety has increased manifold today, thanks to better equipment and poorer bowling attacks. Yet Hughes couldn't be saved. And it in a way brings cricket back to its originality in an era of corruption, match-fixing and spices called IPL.
Hughes's death has reiterated the biggest philosophy of cricket and that is about its unpredictability and uncertainty.
Cricket is not just about officialdom, glittering shows and money but something more
Bookies and corporates might put every effort to make the sport predictable and a more entertaining affair but the shocking death of the Australian batsman again brought back the belief that cricket is not about just officialdom, evening shows and generation of money.
Cricket: 'Larger-than-life' and 'dangerous-like-death'
There is something 'larger-than-life' and 'dangerous-like-death' related to the game as the traditionalists have often stressed and the Hughes episode vindicated that claim.
While Hughes's 63 not out against the New South Wales at the time of his receiving the fatal injury made him a hero who sacrificed his life but not the wicket, the shocking death that left the entire cricketing fraternity stunned confirmed yet again that the game can be equally cruel. It can make you big but also at the expense of your 'immortality'. Hughes's death perhaps is also an eye-opener for the fancy cricketers of this age.
Sunil Gavaskars are still not redundant
For all those who think Sunil Gavaskar's bare-headed battle with a breed of ferocious fast bowlers a thing of the fast and admire double centuries in limited over matches more, this is an eye-opener. Cricket, thanks to the compelling tides of the liberal world, has undergone change just like the Victorian values, but still its grammar might not be redundant. Cricket is not just about the delivery and the sixers as it might look today.
No matter how fancy cricket is now, it's grammar hasn't become redundant
The underlying philosophy of battling all odds even if the end results look uncertain is what it teaches us in life. Hughes's family and friends will be proud that he gave his life for cause of living. This sounds an irony but that is how cricket is. A great leveller.
Wonder what Sir Neville Cardus would have said had he been around today.