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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Five Memorable Cricketing Moments of Phillip Joel Hughes


He was the little fighter,
Who savoured playing every Test,
Phillip Hughes, you bloody beauty![1]
In peace we hope you rest.
***
Even though Phillip Hughes wasn’t my favourite Test cricketer, I always admired his resolute ability to play the most courageous brand of cricket. And his batting was always attractive. I marvelled at his entry into Test ranks against a full-strength South Africa – Test scores of 0, 75, 115, 160... it was clear the likes of Dale Steyn (the most lethal bowler at the time) wanted to psych Hughesy out.
He did not succeed.
5. Being Dropped In 2009, 2011, 2013
One of the wonderful things about Hughes was his dedication to making runs. I always felt for him when he was dropped, often stated because of technical issues, like his being caught in the slips four times to New Zealand’s Chris Martin in 2011. But each time he was dropped, you knew he’d fight his way back. What character he had to do just that. When he died he was only days away from a Test recall.
4. Only Australian Player to Make a Century on ODI Debut
Hughes waited a long time to wear the coloured clothing of one-day cricket. His patience was rewarded when he scored 112 against Sri Lanka at the MCG in 2013. If there’s one thing you got the impression for when it came to Phillip Hughes, he was made to score tons.
3. Wins 2013 Australian Domestic Cricketer of the Year Award
Hughes had a sure-fire formula for getting another opportunity under the Baggy Green; his sheer weight of runs compels selectors to take another look at him, and then another look. And so on.
2. His Fighting Ashes 81 Not Out Against England in 2013
A match where Hughes’ first innings was overshadowed by Number 11, Ashton Agar, who made 98 on Test debut, characterised the way Hughes played the game. Australia would have been embarrassed had it not been for Hughes’ first innings score in this game. Similarly, his 88 against South Africa in November 2011 (only four weeks before he was again dropped) represented the fighter who saved Australia in that Test, giving the team the chance to win that vital Test, famous for Patrick Cummins’ man-of-the-match Test debut.
1. Hughes Test Debut Series Versus South Africa, 2009
With a series aggregate of 415 runs from his first three tests at an average of nearly 70 marks an auspicious start to a much vaunted Test career, for a 20 year old. I remember listening to this series on ABC radio 720. Hughes made for such entertaining listening.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.


[1] To an Australian Test cricketer, to use the term “you bloody beauty” signifies a key line in the team song sung after every Test win. I use the term in reverence to the Test wins Phillip Hughes shared in during his career.

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