Sydney: As news of the shock death of Test cricketer Phillip Hughes spread yesterday, Australian television channels offered wall-to-wall coverage.
Shattered: Australian skipper Michael Clarke at a press conference in Sydney. Pic/AFP
TV footage showed many Australian cricketers, past and present, visiting St Vincent's Hospital in the morning. Sombre images of — Steve Waugh, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Mitchell Starc, Brad Haddin and Steve Smith — among others walking out of the hospital visibly distressed were beamed across the networks. Test opener David Warner was seen leaving the hospital in tears with his wife.
Shock was the overriding emotion too for young fast bowler Sean Abbott, who delivered the ball that struck Hughes. A shattered Clarke read a message at the hospital on behalf of Hughes' parents. A couple of kilometres away at the Sydney Cricket Ground, grief-stricken members of the cricketing fraternity, including Aussie coach Darren Lehmann, former captain Ricky Ponting, Brad Haddin, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Abbott gathered to mourn his passing.
Flags were flown at half mast at the SCG and the MCG in Melbourne.
Channel 7 moved its coverage of the 2014 Australian Golf Open to air the story with live crosses to its reporters at the hospital and the SCG. Nine News, the network that broadcasts Australia's Tests, ODIs and T20 games, ran extensive coverage on the demise of one of Australia's most-loved cricketers. Former Australian skipper Mark Taylor told Nine News that Hughes "looks terrific in a baggy green cap".
Family first: Taylor
Asked about the first Test against India due to start in Brisbane next Thursday, Taylor felt it was likely to proceed. "We have got to talk to the family first and foremost, and the players who might be playing in that first Test, get their thoughts, take a bit of time and work through this. But at this stage, I think it is still on."
Twenty-four hour news channel ABC24 devoted most of its airtime to the story throughout the afternoon, as did the cable news channel Sky News. Fox Sports, a 24-hour sports news channel on cable TV, ran rolling coverage with former Australian Test cricketer Brendan Julian talking about Hughes' career and the massive reaction on social media, as well as the impact on Abbott.
Channel Ten, which shows the T20 Big Bash, led its 5pm news bulletin with the story — with a profile of the late cricketer and reactions to the tragedy. The letters on the historic manual scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval bore the legend: Vale Phillip Hughes 1988-2014.
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