The Telegraph: Phillip Hughes almost withdrew with illness from tragic match

Features, Print, Sport, The Telegraph

Former Australia batsman’s father says his son woke up with a virus and felt so bad that he almost pulled out

By Isabelle Westbury, Adelaide

Greg Hughes, father of the Austra­lian cricketer Phillip who died this time last year, has revealed that his son nearly withdrew from the game in which he suffered the fatal injury.

Hughes has revealed that his son woke up with a virus and felt so bad that he almost pulled out of the ­domestic four-day match between New South Wales and South Austra­lia in Sydney.

However, having been out of the Australian Test side for more than a year and having enjoyed a strong domestic season, Phil was eyeing an opening due to an injury to the then captain, Michael Clarke. Hughes decided to battle through.

“He wasn’t well,” Greg says in Phillip Hughes: The Official Biography. “But he was determined to score runs. Phillip knew how impor­tant this match was, and he saw that bigger picture.” Hughes was struck while batting during that match and died two days later.

The first anniversary of his death will be marked by the Australia and New Zealand teams on the first day of the third Test here in Adelaide.

David Warner, who was playing for NSW when Hughes was struck, said: “He was sick the night before. He was sick that morning, but he had to play because there was a Test match around the corner.”

According to Rod Marsh, chairman of Australia’s national selection panel, Hughes was on course to ­become Warner’s opening partner. “That was the master plan going forward,” he said. “We were very confident he would have a long and successful Test match career.”

Alongside Warner, Australia’s Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also present when Hughes was struck. All three will play in the Test starting tomorrow. “We’re all pretty close mates,” Lyon said yesterday. “We always stick together anyway but, especially in this situation, to come out and pay the ultimate respect to Hughesy and his family is probably the biggest thing for us. We want to pay that ultimate respect but also be there and support each other, each and every one.”

On Wednesday, during an Australia team training session, Mitchell Marsh smashed a ball back towards a young net bowler, accidentally striking him on the back of the head. The bowler was fine but Marsh, visibly distressed, left his net without facing another ball.

The Test’s first day is set to be a moving one but commemorations have been kept low-key at the request of Hughes’s ­family. However, a tribute package will be played on the vision screen during the first break at 4.08pm – in reference to Hughes’s Test cap number of 408. The players will also all wear black armbands in a mark of respect.

• This article was originally published in The Telegraph on 25 November 2015. To access the original, please click here.


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