Phil Hughes' death was caused due to a head injury that he suffered while trying to swing to a Sean Abbott delivery © Getty Images
Phil Hughes’ death was caused due to a head injury that he suffered while trying to swing to a Sean Abbott delivery © Getty Images

Mumbai: Nov 27, 2014

Former India captain Nari Contractor, who had survived a near-fatal skull injury after being hit by a fast bowler in the West Indies five decades ago, described the demise of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes today as “sad and unfortunate”.

“It’s sad and unfortunate. Our sympathy goes to his family. What more can I say,” said Contractor. Contractor had himself suffered a serious injury after being hit by a delivery from pacer Charlie Griffith in a tour game in the West Indies in 1962, while leading the touring India side against Barbados.

The tour game was sandwiched between the second Test at Kingston [Jamaica], which turned out to be his 31st and last international appearance, and the third Test of the five-game series in Kensington Oval, Barbados. The left handed opener’s skull was fractured and it needed a series of surgeries and the insertion of a steel plate on the damaged part of his head to save the life of Contractor soon after he had celebrated his 28th birthday in the Caribbean Islands.

Contractor has always maintained that the modern protective cricketing gears, especially the helmet, have changed the game. But the fatal injury to Hughes, who was hit on the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbott while batting in a domestic game in Australia, has made him wonder how the accident happened.

“I, for once never even thought after the advent of helmet that this could happen. But accidents do take place and this is one of them,” he pondered.

“I have read in newspapers [regretfully] that he was not wearing the best quality of helmet,” said Contractor when asked whether the quality of helmets needed to be upgraded to prevent such accidents in future.

Complete coverage of Phil Hughes’ tragic demise