An emotional week

The scenes coming out of Sydney, both from the ground and latterly from St Vincent’s Hospital, are something we all thought we’d never see surrounding a cricket match.

Neil Fairbrother
An emotional week

What a tragic and emotional week it has been for the world of cricket.

I think the death of Phil Hughes has brought home to all those who have played the game how lucky we have been with blows to the head from time to time.

The scenes coming out of Sydney, both from the ground and latterly from St Vincent’s Hospital, are something we all thought we’d never see surrounding a cricket match.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning, one of the doctors said that just over 100 cases of what happened to Phil Hughes have ever been reported so a freak accident is exactly the right phrase for what has happened to the young Australian.

It’s impossible to know how his family and close friends and players that were playing in that game are coping and also what Sean Abbott is going through, Lord only knows.

The Australian Cricket Board acted rapidly on the counselling front. We can only hope in the case of Sean that he is assured that all of the cricketing family will be behind him to try to help him overcome whatever scarring this incident will have left him with and, in the long run, return to the game that we all love and fulfil his potential.

I never met and didn’t know Phil Hughes but, talking to the lads that knew him and played with and against him, as has already been stated, not only was he a fantastic cricket talent but he was also a top bloke, with the latter obviously being far more important than the former.

On a brighter note I thought England’s performance in the first one-day international in Colombo on Wednesday was pretty good all things considered.

They are in a tough environment over there in Sri Lanka and had only had one practice match and to get as close as they did to chasing down 317 I thought was a very good.

The stand-out performance was Moeen Ali who has grabbed his opportunity at the top of the order with both hands and played a remarkable innings.

The fact that it was the third fastest century in an ODI by an England player speaks for itself and some of his timing was absolutely sublime.

Clearly one or two of the other lads just lacked a little bit of match sharpness both with bat and ball but that will come over the next six games.

The one conundrum that I’m sure will be foremost in the selectors’ minds is how they can fit Alex Hales into the batting line-up.

Alastair Cook is clearly going to play as captain, Moeen Ali is fast cementing his place as our World Cup opener and the big question is, can we get Hales in the top three too?

I look forward to seeing the selection for the second game as competition intensifies for the ultimate starting XI on February 14.

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