Sydney: Phillip Hughes' demise will haunt the cricket world for years and to get over the tragedy the New South Wales cricket association did something unique by destroying the ball that fatally struck the young Australian during a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG last year.
Phillip Hughes of South Australia is helped by New South Wales players after falling to the ground after being struck in the head by a delivery during day one of the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and South Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Pic/Getty Images
The 25-year-old Hughes passed away on November 27, two days after he got hit during the fateful Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
On being asked about the six-and-half ounce of red kookaburra that was delivered by Sean Abbott on that day, the Cricket NSW official said that the ball has been destroyed.
"The ball that was used that day has been destroyed. It is a sensitive issue. We didn't want any trace that would hurt anyone. It was a collective decision taken by the Cricket New South Wales. Now if you ask me how it was destroyed, I won't be able to tell you. All I know is that the ball will never be seen again," Cricket NSW media manager Jodie Hawkins told PTI.
Had that particular piece of leather been preserved, it could have probably hurt the sentiments of innumerable number of people who were close to the cricketer. When asked what happened to gears that Hughes was wearing, Hawkins said that "those were returned to his parents."
There was another piece of information that was provided by Hawkins regarding the playing strip at the SCG where the incident happened.
"Pitch No.5 of SCG where the incident took place was retired for the season. Not a single match (first class or international) took place on pitch No5. However it has been decided that from the next season, we will again be having matches on pitch No.5," Hawkins, who was also associated with BBL side Sydney Sixers, added.
Hughes was batting on 63 when he couldn't connect a pull shot off a short delivery from Abbott as it hit on the back of his head. He was rushed to the hospital in unconscious condition and he was declared dead on the third day. There was a wave of emotions in Australia following the young man's death as he was declared the "12th man" during India's first Test against hosts at Adelaide.
Almost all the Australian players had a silent prayer and tribute on their lips when they reached the score of 63 during that particular match. National captain Michael Clarke, who went through an emotionally turbulent phase post Hughes' death, still wears a black armband as a mark of tribute.