Phillip Hughes story was not meant to end here.

Not at this place. Not in this way.

Phillip Hughes 30/11/88 - 27/11/14

Phillip Hughes 30/11/88 - 27/11/14

 

Not playing the game he loved with a vitality and exuberance that spoke of all the very best things cricket has to offer.

It has left a nation bereft, wondering how someone so young and talented could perish whilst playing the game most Australians see as a sanctuary from the worries of the world.

Yet the unimaginable is true. The unspeakable real.

Phillip Hughes played cricket like most young Australians would like to imagine they could. 

Fearless and enterprising, he hit the ball hard and could bend the very best bowling to his will with scything shots either side of the wicket.

As a very young man Hughes was piling up runs in Sheffield Shield cricket and winning Shield finals off his own bat with huge scores in the biggest game on the calendar.

In 2009 he peeled off consecutive centuries in just his 2nd Test Match against South Africa in Durban. It was some of the most thrilling cricket in recent memory.

 At age 20 he became the youngest player to achieve this feat and the comparisons were heady. 

Bradman was mentioned. 

In this age of sensation such accolades were ludicrous and burdensome. 

Modern cricket is a forensic science and soon enough flaws were spotted and plans were hatched and executed. 

New Zealand bowler Chris Martin pitched up with unerring accuracy, tormenting Phillip Hughes as he provided a surfeit of snicks to the slips.   

England came and baited the hook outside off stump. Suddenly the withering cut shot and drive through the covers that was Hughes weapons of choice became his kryptonite.

The young god had feet of clay.

Dropped from the Test team he was derided by some for a lack of technique and questioned about his temperament and courage. 

Lesser young men may have let the game they loved so dearly break their hearts.

Not Phillip Hughes.

Dropped 3 times from the Test team he simply went back to work. 

Those of us lucky enough to interview him discovered a young man of enormous grace and good will. No matter what the circumstance there was always an opportunity to improve, another innings to look forward to, more runs to make.

A chance for a better tomorrow.

As he stood at the crease on Tuesday that tomorrow looked like it may have arrived. 63 not out and rollicking along in typical fashion, Hughes looked set for another Test recall as his great friend, Australian Captain Michael Clarke, struggled with a hamstring problem.

Cruelly, inexplicably, it wasn't to be.

His death has triggered something instinctive and profound amongst Australians.

For generations, Australian sports fans have liked to think their cricket team represents the characteristics of their better selves.

Bold, talented, brash and ruthless in pursuit of success, and once upon a time, graceful in defeat.

Through Phillip Hughes we may have seen another side of ourselves. 

The part of us we'd like to believe could win the day when it mattered most. 

A belief that we might try and try again even knowing the world was all too painfully aware of our short comings, that we would do so with a spirit of humility and humor.

Knowing that we have so much more to give.

That Phillip Hughes will no longer is a hurt too acute to contemplate.

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