Australia is a river of tears.

I’m stunned.

Although I gathered that things were very very grim at St Vincents Hospital, I am devastated by the death of Phillip Hughes.

I’m speechless.

I missed a call from my producer moments ago.  I saw him ringing, but I couldn’t talk to him. He would have been calling me to discuss who we should talk to on the radio program tomorrow morning regarding this tragedy.  I’ll call him back shortly to tell him that I don’t wish to speak to anyone who was close in anyway to this young sportsman. I don’t think it’s right for us to speak to them and extend their enormous grief in any way.

On the day after the incident, we tried to get a number of people on the air to discuss.  Stuey Magill wouldn’t answer his phone as was the case with a number of others. We ciouldn’t raise Greg Matthews. Nobody really wanted to talk.

I got through to Dean Jones at about 8.15am on that morning after half an hour of trying and the conversation went like this.

Me “Deano….Mark Parton from Canberra”

Jones “Hey Mark”

Me “Tell me to fuck off if you want…”

Jones “Correct”

Me “Understand….I’ll get out of your face”

This is so sad.

I met Phillip Hughes at Parliament House in the summer of 2009.  He was the exciting new batting prospect who’d stormed into state cricket for NSW and seemed destined for the international scene. He’d been selected to play for the Prime Minister’s XI and we came together at a reception the night before the game.  There were such big wraps on this young man who was just 19 at the time.

I expected to see an imposing athletic figure, and if anything, I was surprised at how unimposing he appeared in person.  He was just a boy.  A little boy. To me, he looked as though he could have been 16.  He looked as though he’d be more at home sitting in front of the playstation in his tracky dax than playing for Australia.He was quiet and understated. He was still coming to terms with the public life of a first class cricketer.

Phillip Hughes played without fear.

The tall fast bowlers would serve it up him and he’d return serve.  Watching Phillip Hughes dispatch short pitched deliveries to the boundary was magic.

On the international stage he was such a joy to watch.  hughes

He is such a sad loss.

Phillip Hughes would want the test match v India to go ahead, and it should.

It should be optional for the selected players if they wish to play, and God help anyone who questions any decision by a player to stand aside because of this tragedy.