I wanted to write something, anything, because I've never been hit this hard by the death of someone I've never met, never known. But I'm struggling for words. A freak accident and suddenly, a life is gone. Another life, without the correct support, could be ruined.
I only watched him play in the flesh a handful of times, always against the side I supported, whether it was in county cricket or on the national stage. But I always respected him. And I very much liked him. He was unconventional and there was something about him that was deeply likeable. When his technical flaws were found out, you wanted him to overcome it. You wanted him to succeed.
During my trip Down Under for the 2013/14 Ashes, I bought the badges of the Australian cricketers I liked. Hughes was top of that list. Every morning I wake up to a badge with his cheeky grin on it, purposefully put there because it makes me smile. Tomorrow. Tomorrow my smile will be one filled with sorrow. Because cricket has lost a lovely, talented young man far, far too soon.
Rest in peace, Phillip Joel Hughes.