Yorkshire’s first team coach Jason Gillespie has paid tribute to Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes who sadly passed away on Thursday aged 25.
Gillespie, a former Test player with Australia, coached Hughes on an Australia A tour to Zimbabwe in 2011 and he remembers fondly the gritty top-order batsman and his influence in the dressing room.
“I had the privilege of coaching Phil on a Australia A tour a few years back,” Gillespie told Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s official website.
“You could see back then that he had the ideal temperament and skill set to be a top player in the game. Since then, he made it into the national squad and continued to excel as a fine cricketer.
“It’s truly heart-breaking what has happened and it is still hard to understand how his friends and family are coming to terms with his sad loss.
“You have to understand that a lot of the lads that he played with, when the incident happened in Sydney earlier this week, have grown up playing cricket together and it will be a tough time for them. From over here in the UK it is very hard to comprehend how they’re feeling.
“It is a horrific circumstance and this shouldn’t happen in sport – it’s an absolute tragedy.
“But I don’t think now is the time to start talking about rule changes and safety equipment. There will be a time to discuss those issues, but now is a time to grieve and pay respects.”
Gillespie, who played 71 Test Matches for Australia and steered Yorkshire to Championship success last season, feels the cricket family need to come together for young Australian bowler Sean Abbott after Hughes’ tragic death.
Abbott delivered the ball that hit Hughes on the head and left the batsman in a critical condition for two days before he passed away.
“We are all really feeling for Abbott right now,” he said.
“This is a young lad who is 22 years of age just running in and doing his job.
“This is the last thing you would expect to happen on a cricket field and he was bowling to one of his mates as well.”
Earlier Yorkshire County Cricket Club today conveyed their sympathy to the family of Phillip Hughes.
Colin Graves, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman, said: “Yorkshire Cricket, along with the family of cricket, is deeply saddened to hear the heart-breaking news of the passing of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Phillip as well as his playing colleagues and friends from around the world.
“He will be sadly missed throughout the world of cricket and his death has puts life into perspective.”
Hughes, who played county cricket for Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire, played one game at Headingley in a T20 quarter-final in 2012 when he scored 80 not out for Worcestershire in their defeat to Yorkshire.