The South Australia left-hander collapsed as a result of the short-pitched delivery from fast bowler Sean Abbott and was rushed to hospital where he remains in a critical condition after being placed in an induced coma following emergency surgery.
A dazed Hughes initially stooped over with his hands on his knees following the blow before falling face first onto the pitch, from where he was carried on a stretcher and said to have received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The Sheffield Shield clash was abandoned while cricket bosses have confirmed the players who witnessed the sickening head injury and Hughes’ subsequent collapse will be offered counselling. “The ACA is working closely with Cricket Australia to arrange the appropriate counselling for those affected,” said Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief executive Alastair Nicholson.
Former Middlesex batsman Hughes has played 26 Tests for his country having made his debut aged 20 and was in contention for a recall, with skipper Michael Clarke an injury doubt for Australia’s opening clash with India next month.
The 25-year-old has received messages of support from across the cricket community as has 22-year-old Abbott, a former team-mate of Hughes at New South Wales, who made his limited overs debut for Australia last month. Australia coach Darren Lehmann wrote on Twitter: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil and his family. He is a great fighter and a great young man.”