New Delhi: Batting icon Sachin Tendulkar led tributes in India on Thursday for Australian opener Phillip Hughes, calling the death of his former team-mate a "sad day for cricket". "Shocked to hear about Phil. Sad day for cricket," said Tendulkar, who played alongside the 25-year-old Hughes in the Indian Premier League.
"Deepest condolences to family, friends and well wishers. RIP," Tendulkar said on Twitter of his former Mumbai Indians teammate. Former and current Indian stars joined Tendulkar in paying tribute to Hughes, who died in a Sydney hospital on Thursday of injuries sustained after being hit by a rising ball in domestic cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar. Pic/ AFP
Batting great Sunil Gavaskar said his immediate reaction was "one of profound sadness". "No one wants to hear such news about a sportsman, let alone a cricketer," the former opening batsman told NDTV. "My condolences to his family and the Australian cricketing fraternity."
Gavaskar, the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs who played at the highest level in the pre-helmet days, said he never considered cricket to be a dangerous game. "You learn to bear the pain," he said. "But this was a freakish accident. One should not blame helmet manufacturers for this. Many a time a batsman has been hit on the helmet and nothing happened because he was wearing one."
Another former captain Anil Kumble, who serves as mentor of the Mumbai Indians franchise, tweeted: "Sad day for cricket. Phil Hughes RIP. Knew him whilst he came over to Mumbai Indians. Thorough pro..will miss you."
All-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who battled lung cancer two years ago, called Hughes' death a "dark day for cricket". "Dark day for cricket. Can't believe Phil Hughes has gone! RIP my friend. My heart goes out to his family. Shocking," Singh tweeted.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India, whose team is currently touring Australia, tweeted its condolences for Hughes' family. But it remained to be seen if the first Test, due to begin in Brisbane on December 4, will go ahead as scheduled due to the tragedy.
The touring Indian team issued a statement through Cricket Australia condoling the tragedy. "The touring Indian team joins the cricketing fraternity across the world in offering condolences to the family of Phillip Hughes, who has departed from our midst," the statement said.
"In this moment of grief, we pray that they are bestowed with divine strength to overcome this unfortunate tragedy. "As fellow cricketers we cherish the memories of playing along with him and deeply respect his contribution to the game of cricket." Hughes toured India with the Australian team last year, playing in four Tests and six one-day internationals.
The Indian cricket team expressed its deepest condolences at the tragic demise of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, who succumbed to his injuries today at a Sydney hospital after being hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shiled match.
"The touring Indian team joins the cricketing fraternity across the world in offering condolences to the family of Phillip Hughes, who has departed from our midst," said the Indian cricket team in a statement released through Cricket Australia.
"In this moment of grief, we pray that they are bestowed with divine strength to overcome this unfortunate tragedy." The 25-year-old cricketer, who was in contention for a Test recall for the coming series against India, died at the St Vincent's Hospital, where he was battling for life after being hit on the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbot on Tuesday.
"As fellow cricketers we cherish the memories of playing along with him and deeply respect his contribution to the game of cricket," the statement said.