Australia sweats over record heat

A sculpture called We're fryin' out here at a beach in SydneyA sculpture called “We’re fryin’ out here” at a beach in Sydney

Australia has always suffered from bouts of extreme hot weather but the number and intensity of heatwaves is on the rise, prompting a rethink of how the country lives, works and plays in the sun.

Some like it hot, but the 13-day stretch with temperatures exceeding 40C in Longreach that ended last week was some of the hottest weather in living memory for the Queensland town.

It was also a new heatwave record for the cattle country town, beating the previous record by four days, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

Livestock dams began drying up, local companies asked staff to start work early to avoid the worst of the heat and native animals struggled to find water.

It was not an isolated weather pattern. Last year was Australia’s hottest since records began in 1910, according to the bureau.

A couple enjoy the sun on Bondi Beach in AustraliaAustralia is famous for its beaches, but could soaring temperatures hurt the economy?

Thanks to climate change, much of Australia will be subjected to longer, hotter and more regular spells of extremely hot weather, say climate scientists.

To cope, Australian industry needs to start “heat-proofing” its operations and sporting authorities need to rethink when and for how long competitions are played outside, says Elizabeth Hanna, president of health sector organisation, the Climate and Heath Alliance, and a researcher at the Australian National University.

It also raises questions about the kinds of houses Australians live in, says Ms Hanna, who is in the midst of a four-year project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council that is measuring how high temperatures can rise before workers and productivity are affected.

Dangers

Much of the research done around the world has looked at how military personnel and elite athletes cope with very high temperatures.

But the average person responds quite differently to very hot weather, she says.

Children enjoy the weather on a beach in SydneyEven in the winter, Australia has been experiencing unusually hot weather

Symptoms of severe heat stress include dizziness, headaches, confusion and fainting. More severe outcomes include dehydration, loss of fluids and electrolytes, and kidney and heart damage.

“I think it will be a big economic impost when people start to opt not to do things because of the heat,” says Ms Hanna.

She says sporting authorities needed to rethink holding major events, such as long-distance cycle races and cricket matches, in the peak of summer.

A player cools off at the Australian OpenTennis players at the 2014 Australian Open faced extreme hot weather

Local club sports and recreational participants and organisers must also consider the heat when they plan their games, she says.

“There are some forward-thinking [sporting] people who realise they have to change but it is quite a big deal for all groups to agree on changes,” she says.

Tennis Australia is reviewing its hot weather policy after the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne was disrupted by a week-long heatwave in January.

Organisers of the event – the first of four annual international Grand Slam tennis events – implemented an extreme-heat policy halfway through the tournament when temperatures on the outside courts hit 43C.

A player is attended to at the Australian OpenFor some the heat became overwhelming

The roofs on the central arenas were closed when the mercury hit 43.9C, although play continued.

Football NSW, which represents about 220,000 players, has had a hot-weather policy in place since 2011, says the association’s risk manager Michelle Hanley.

“We send a heatwave notice to members alerting them to extreme temperature warnings from the BoM,” says Ms Hanley. The association also asks competition managers to consider delaying or cancelling games during heatwaves.

People cope differently with hot weather and different parts of NSW have different conditions “which is why we don’t say anyone must cancel a game” she says.

Complacency?

Exercising, working, or even walking at a fast pace becomes difficult at temperatures above 35C, says Ms Hanna, who senses little momentum for change in sport or work places.

“People say ‘It’s hot and it’s always hot in summer,’ … and the message [that the weather is getting dangerously hot] is not coming through in the commercial media,” she says.

A fire fighter tackles a bushfire in AustraliaExperts warn that climate change is making bushfires worse

“About 80% of the energy produced by working muscles is heat, so without heat loss via sweating, we would overheat in about six minutes.”

Often, people don’t realise the risks of continuing to work outside in such heat, even when they are protected by shade, she says. People can also become lethargic or confused during very hot weather and fail to move out of the heat.

That can be dangerous for anyone caught on public transport without air-conditioning or in cars that break down or are stuck in traffic because of heat-related infrastructure problems.

Heatwaves are occurring more often because of climate change, says climate scientist Sarah Perkins.

The University of New South Wales researcher, who specialises in heatwaves, says Australia is experiencing different types of extreme temperatures, including hotter, longer and more regular periods of heat.

“I am quite concerned that in 2013 we blitzed so many temperature records in Australia,” says Ms Perkins.

“For me, it is a screaming climate change signal that we are changing to a new state,” she says.

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Australia-India to start in Adelaide

Australia’s

Test series with India

will now begin in Adelaide on 9 December following the death of Phillip Hughes.

The four-match contest should have begun in Brisbane on Thursday, but that Test will now start on 17 December.

The traditional Melbourne Boxing Day Test is unchanged, but the Sydney Test is put back three days to 6 January.

The changes have been made because of welfare concerns for Australia’s players grieving for Hughes, 25, whose funeral will take place on Wednesday.

The left-handed Australia opener

died on Thursday

after being struck on the neck by a ball during a domestic Sheffield Shield match.

The funeral service will take place in the sports hall of Macksville High School, which Hughes attended, and will be broadcast live in Australia and on big screens at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval.

“Nobody should underestimate just what these players are going through right now,” said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

“These are difficult days and we need to support them in dealing with their grief. It’s very clear that playing a Test right now is just too soon and we are reacting accordingly.

“While this wasn’t done by design, it is somewhat fitting that the first Test will take place in Adelaide at Phillip’s adopted home ground where we hope the match can be a seen as a celebration of his life.”

The India squad, currently in Adelaide, were supposed to fly to Brisbane on Monday but missed their flight.

Their two-day warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide, scheduled for Friday and Saturday last week, was cancelled.

It has been reported 

that the Indians may now play a tour game in Adelaide on Thursday and Friday.

After the Test series with India, Australia then face the tourists in

a triangular one-day international series that also involves England.

Two of those games have already been switched.

Australia and England will now open the series in Sydney on 16 January, with the Aussies taking on India in Melbourne two days later.

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VIDEO: Australia makes $1.5bn drugs haul

Police in Australia have arrested six people after seizing more than $1.5b worth of drugs.

The haul of ecstasy and crystal meth was found in a container of furniture shipped from Germany.

Russell Trott reports.

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Australia united in grief after Hughes death

Summer in Australia means cricket. That’s just the way it is. Footy boots are put away and cricket bats come out. The seasons mean that a set of bat and stumps is the perfect present from Santa.

Those bats, a symbol of carefree fun in the sun and of a young kid’s dream, now symbolise the life of Phillip Hughes,

who died on Thursday

playing the sport he loved; the sport millions of Australians love.


Cricket bats left out as a tribute

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As Fiona Bruce reports, people have been posting images using the hashtag #putoutyourbats

Those bats, of all brands and sizes, are now standing proud in the windows of shops, homes and offices across Australia. They are leaning up against the back gate, propped up against a stump in the middle of a suburban park or resting against a gum tree with a well-worn club cap dangling over the handle.

They are part of the

#putyourbatsout social media campaign,

which has swept across the country and around the world, as a way of paying respect.

Cricket Australia displayed 63 bats in the windows of their Headquarters in Jolimont Street in Melbourne – 63 being the score Hughes was on when he was struck that fatal blow on Tuesday.

Former wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist lined up four bats in a row outside his house, and wrote, “From the Gilly kids.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott leaned a bat against the wall of Kirribilli House, his official residence in Sydney.

A portrait is painted on a store display in memory of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes.

A store in Sydney painted a display in memory of Phillip Hughes

The mark of respect has come through other sports too and from all age groups. Australian U16 girls hockey players, the Futuroos, placed their sticks in a spiral around a tree. Elsewhere the crowd broke into applause during the 63rd minute of the A League soccer (football) match between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United on Friday night.

Australian and former Premier League footballer Tim Cahill tweeted from New York and said he knew Hughes was a big soccer fan, so for all those who didn’t have a cricket bat, he was starting #putoutyoursoccerballs

As an extension of this, some have simply started displaying things that they love, in the way that Hughes loved cricket. An electric guitar was photographed leaning up against a brick wall with the same hashtag.

Tim Cahill puts out a soccer ball in memory of Phillip Hughes

Tim Cahill has started the #putoutyoursoccerballs as Phillip Hughes was a big soccer fan

In the Northbridge district of Perth a mural of graffiti art has appeared on a red brick wall. It depicts a green matted cricket pitch, the words HUGHES in 3D, and a solitary cricket bat leaning against the name. A store in Sydney arranged for a banner portrait of Hughes to be painted in its front window. Hughes’ old primary school in Macksville wrote on the notice board outside the building, “RIP Phillip Hughes. You will always be part of our Macksville family.”

In the front window of a family home on a tree lined street in Sydney, two adult cricket bats next to a child-sized bat seemed particularly poignant; a reminder that Hughes was once a child – and his parents are now one child less. To that end, every parent in the country has been touched by this tragedy; the loss of such a young, talented son, and a country boy living out his dream.

On the day of Hughes’ death, Port Melbourne CC cancelled senior training and held a BBQ in the clubrooms instead. Their junior cricketers were in action on Saturday and wore black armbands to mark the passing of one of their heroes. As they stood side by side in whites at the edge of the pitch, their coach told them that during the minute’s silence perhaps they could think about how much fun it is to be able to play cricket with your mates. Because that is what Phillip Hughes did.

A special piece of graffiti is displayed on wall in Perth in homage to Phillip Hughes

A special piece of graffiti is displayed on wall in Perth in homage to Phillip Hughes

One small cricketer reached 63 not out, then retired. Usually the retirement score would be 50 in junior cricket, but this weekend Cricket Australia asked it be changed to 63, to match the score Hughes was on when he was hit. The little fella was proud that he’d reach the milestone in honour of his hero.

Scenes like this were repeated all over the country with players as young as seven observing 63 seconds of silence. Clubs painted Hughes’ Baggy Green number, 408, on the outfield. Grade cricket in Sydney had already been cancelled out of respect for Hughes in his home state.

Wherever you are in the country, it is hard to avoid conversations about Hughes’ death. Buying a newspaper across a counter in Melbourne leads to the cashier exclaiming his disbelief and sadness at the front page – before adding that he is not even a cricket fan.

Cricket Australia displayed 63 bats in the windows of their Headquarters in Jolimont Street in Melbourne

Cricket Australia have displayed 63 bats in the windows of their Headquarters in Melbourne

Australia’s Daily Telegraph devoted its entire front page on Saturday to a montage of touching images from #putyourbatsout. Other papers such as the Adelaide Advertiser kept Hughes on the front page as well as the back. Victoria is in the midst of State elections this weekend, so coverage in Melbourne’s Age and Herald Sun starts four pages in, whilst still dominating the sport. ABC’s iconic sports programme, Grandstand, was flooded with tributes to Hughes when they threw open the phone lines on Saturday.

As more and more bats appear, it feels as if the sense of shock and grief might be starting to give way to a more reflective feeling about the life of Phillip Hughes; about remembering the country lad who would have turned 26 on Sunday, and remembering what he achieved as a cricketer.

For those closest to Hughes though, the grief remains heartbreaking and raw. A distraught Michael Clarke fought back tears and struggled to maintain control when he read out a tribute statement on Saturday on behalf of the whole Australia team. “To Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan,” he faltered, “we share in the deep pain that you’re feeling.” Between sentences there were heart wrenching pauses while the Australian captain – “our captain” as the Aussie media refers to him – tried to hold himself together. Australians are rightly proud of the way Clarke is supporting both his team mates and the Hughes family. Right now, he is in need of as much support himself.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott put out a bat with a black arm band as a mark of respect for Phillip Hughes

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott put out a bat with a black arm band as a mark of respect for Phillip Hughes

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Australia retire Hughes’s ODI shirt

A grief-stricken Australia captain Michael Clarke said Phillip Hughes’s number 64 one-day shirt number would be retired following his tragic death.

Hughes

died on Thursday

aged 25 two days after being hit by a ball.

Clarke said: “I asked Cricket Australia if Hughesy’s one-day international number 64 could be retired, to which they agreed. That means so much.”

No decision has been announced about the first Test with India, which is due to begin in Brisbane on Thursday.

Phillip Hughes mosaic in The Australian

The Australian newspaper features a mosaic of Phillip Hughes made up of pictures of the #putoutyourbats tribute

Pausing frequently to

wipe away tears,

Clarke said: “Our promise to Hughesy’s family is that we will do everything we can to honour his memory.

“He epitomised what the baggy green is all about and what it means to us all.

“Our dressing room will never be the same. We loved him, and always will. Rest in peace.”

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes the Test match against India should not be played on Thursday.

“It’s been such a tragic week for the Hughes family and the cricket community and I can’t imagine how anybody can be expected to play Test cricket on Thursday,” he said. “In fact I don’t think it would be right.

“Even if the boys think they can play it would be a miracle if they find the right frame of mind needed for five days of cricket.”

Michael Clarke in tears

Michael Clarke spent two days at the bedside of Phillip Hughes before his death on Thursday

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Australia: Questions to Jon Donnison

Two Royal Australian Air Force Hercules aircraft fly above the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge during a display, in this handout picture released by the Australian Defence Force on 10 September, 2014

Do you have a question about terror threats in Australia?

Over the last few months Australia has been increasing its efforts to fight terrorism.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott raised the country’s terrorism threat level from medium to high amid growing concern over the domestic impact of radical Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria.

In September, police in Sydney and Brisbane carried out what they described as the “biggest counter-terrorism operation” in the country’s history. Security was also upgraded at the Australian parliament following “chatter” suggesting extremists could target it for attack.

What do these developments mean for safety down under? Is Australia in danger of becoming a target for terrorist attacks? The BBC’s Sydney correspondent Jon Donnison will answer your questions in a Twitter QA on Tuesday 2 December from 0200 GMT (1300 local time).

Jon's request - PLS USE THIS PHOTO

Here are the ways you can take part:

You can contact him directly on Twitter by tweeting your question to @JonDonnison using the hashtag #AskBBCJon

Text your question, beginning #AskBBCJon to 61124 or if you are outside of the UK +44 7624 800 100.

Alternatively, you can email it to haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

When it’s over, we’ll publish a selection of the questions and answers featured in the session on this page. Although Jon will try to answer as many questions as he can, he won’t get to all of them. Questions to Jon will be tweeted immediately before his answers and might therefore, be edited for brevity.

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‘Weeping’ Australia mourns Hughes

The death of Phillip Hughes has left a country weeping and has “changed cricket forever” – according to former Australian batsman Michael Slater.

The 25-year-old

died on Thursday

– two days after being struck in the neck during a domestic match in Australia.

“I think we’ve all wept in the last day or so,” Slater told BBC Radio 5 live.

“I don’t think anyone thought the outcome would be Phillip Hughes passing away.”

Slater added of the batsman: “It is so heavy and confusing. It’s not what happens in cricket. In this instance it has changed cricket forever.

“The whole of Australia is mourning because he was a fighter. He got dropped by Australia but came back out and scored lots of runs. Australians can relate to that – he was gritty. His death has affected a nation.”

Lords tribute

A floral tribute to Phillip Hughes, left at Lord’s cricket ground

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told a news conference in Sydney on Friday that a decision has not yet been made on whether next Thursday’s first Test against India in Brisbane will go ahead.

“Cricket will go on when we’re ready. But we’ve not broached that subject with the players yet,” he said.

“We will in time but they’ve got other things on their mind.

Sydney Morning Herald

Friday’s Sydney Morning Herald pays tribute to Phillip Hughes

“To many people, seven days does not seem far away but in other ways it is a million miles away. We will get there when we can.”

Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard added: “We need to make sure the players are in a position where they can make strong choices. That is not now. The focus is on people rather than the cricket.”

Sutherland added that he had spoken to

bowler Sean Abbott

– whose delivery fatally struck Hughes – and that he was “holding up really well”.

He said: “I was incredibly impressed by the way he was holding himself and his maturity.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s lead broadcaster Gerard Whateley, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, said: “It’s a numbing shock, which is more akin to when terrorist attacks have occurred around the world. You seek comfort first with your family, and then more broadly.”

Cricket Australia has also

released a video tribute 

by cameraman Adam Goldfinch, who has toured extensively with the national side.

  • Phillip Hughes, batting for South Australia, was hit in the neck by a short-pitched ball on Tuesday. He never regained consciousness.
  • Australian team doctor Peter Brukner explained Hughes died as a result of

    “vertebral artery dissection”. 

  • His family paid tribute to a “much-loved son and brother”.
  • Cricket Australia is “completely devastated” at the “freak accident”.
  • Emotional Australia captain Michael Clarke stayed with Hughes’s family at his bedside for two days.
  • No decision yet whether to play next week’s Test match against India, but warm-up match cancelled.
  • Australia rugby union team set to wear black armbands against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
  • Golfer Adam Scott, an Aussie, wears a black ribbon during Australian Open.
  • F1′s Australian Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo

    tweets: 

    “The whole sporting world’s been affected”.

  • Prime Minister Tony Abbott described Hughes’ death as a “shocking aberration”.
  • Recap how the world reacted to Hughes’s death

    here.

Australian media has been paying tribute to Hughes, with front and back pages dedicated to the life and career of the left-handed batsman, who played 26 Tests for his country.

He died after being hit by a short-pitched delivery from New South Wales bowler Abbott, 22.

On Twitter, cricket fans

posted photographs of their own bats,

as a mark of respect to Hughes, with the hashtags

#putoutyourbats 

and #putyourbatout. Paul Taylor, from Sydney, is believed to have come up with the idea.

Phil D Taylor

Cricket fans on Twitter have been posting pictures using #putoutyourbats

The death of Hughes has sparked discussions about

player safety.

Sutherland said there would be an “immediate” review of safety protocols in consultation with manufacturers.

But former Aussie pace bowler and current Yorkshire first team coach Jason Gillespie told BBC Radio 5 live: “I don’t think this is the time to start talking about laws and safety.

“I think this is a real time to grieve because there’s a family who have lost a son, lost a brother and there’s a wider cricket community who have lost a team-mate and lost a close friend.”

He added: “I’m still in shock to be honest, and very numb. It’s just hard to put into words to be perfectly honest. This has rocked the sport of cricket to the very core.”

ABC’s Whateley, said: “This is the worst day I’ve known in Australia sport. That’s two fold: one him being so young, a 25-year-old who hadn’t had the chance to live his career to full fruition; and the second is that it happened in front of us.

“We’ve seen it and lived through it for three days and there was a sense of dread as his team-mates and family made those terrible processions to the hospital.

Chris Urquhart on Twitter

“A single cricket bat at the entrance to the SCG. The writing on the bat says “63no Forever”. #putoutyourbats” – Today Show’s Chris Urquhart on Twitter

“The announcement of his death felt like a collective blow for all Australians.”

Whateley added: “Virtually every Australian sporting organisation has joined in the condolences.

“From teenagers being drafted into AFL competition, to iconic figures like track cyclist Anna Meares and 100m hurdler Sally Pearson, they have all been struck by this.

“It is the collective endeavour of Australian sport so it touches them all.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, described the death of Hughes as a “freak accident” and said it would “be the end of Test match cricket” if bouncers were outlawed.

“The aggressive nature of Test match cricket has to carry on,” he added.

However, Vaughan said that the sledging that

marred the last Ashes series

must be “stamped out”.

“You want fast bowlers firing down bouncers intimidating batsman,” he said. “That’s high level sport. You want bowlers to get into a batsmen’s mind.

“But over the last few years cricket has gone beyond respect. I hope this incident will send a message worldwide that you play aggressive but let’s stamp out this verbal abuse.”

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Australia batsman Phillip Hughes dies

Australia Test batsman Phillip Hughes has died aged 25, two days after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball during a domestic match in Sydney.

Australia team doctor Peter Brukner said he passed away in hospital, never regaining consciousness.

Hughes, who also played for Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire, was hit by a delivery from bowler Sean Abbott.

“It’s an understatement to say we’re completely devastated,” said Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland.

“The word tragedy gets used too often in sport, but this freak accident is a real life tragedy.”

Australia captain Michael Clarke

read out a statement on behalf of the Hughes family

at a news conference held at St Vincent’s Hospital, where the player, who would have been 26 on Sunday, was being treated.

Speaking on behalf of parents Greg and Virginia, sister Megan and brother Jason, he said: “We’re devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother, Phillip. It’s been a very difficult few days.


Michael Clarke

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Clarke reads statement on behalf of the Hughes family

“We appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public.

“Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you.”

A clearly emotional Clarke then stood up and left the room.

Hughes, batting for South Australia, collapsed face first on the ground after being hit by a bouncer from 22-year-old Abbott during a Sheffield Shield game against New South Wales.

Hughes had been wearing a helmet but the ball struck him at the top of the neck, causing the injury.

He had CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the ground before being taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he had a 90-minute operation to relieve pressure on his brain.


James Sutherland

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James Sutherland: ‘His best cricket was still ahead of him’

Members of the Australian national team, including Clarke, visited Hughes in hospital.

But
his death was confirmed in a statement

on Thursday.

“It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away,” said Brukner.

“He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday.

“He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends.

“As a cricket community, we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.

“Cricket Australia kindly asks that the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.”

Speaking at the news conference,
Brukner explained that Hughes had died as a result of “vertebral artery dissection”.

Post from Adelaide Oval on Twitter

Tributes were paid to Phillip Hughes at the Adelaide Oval

He said the artery had been compressed, causing it to split and leading to a “massive bleed” into the brain.

Brukner said the injury was “freakish”, adding: “Vertebral artery dissection is incredibly rare. If you look in the literature, there is only 100 cases reported. There is only one previous example caused by a cricket ball.”

Dr Tony Grabs, who treated Hughes at St Vincent’s,

said scans had shown that the stricken cricketer needed surgery quickly to help get the pressure down in the brain.

“He had extensive surgery to remove some of the skull from around his brain to help allow the brain to expand,” added Grabs.

However, his recovery did not go as hoped.

“Over a period of the first 24 to 48 hours, he did not make very much improvement and unfortunately, as a consequence of the injury, he died,” said Brukner.

The Australian flag was lowered to half-mast

over the Sydney Cricket Ground where Hughes suffered the horrific injury. Flags were also lowered at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

paid tribute to Hughes, describing him as “a young man living out his dreams”.

“His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family. What happened has touched millions of Australians,” he said.

“For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration. He was loved, admired and respected by his team-mates and by legions of cricket fans.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann

tweeted: “RIP you little champ, we are all going to miss you! Love, prayers to all the Hughes family.”

The England team

also released a statement on Twitter, writing: “Our deepest sympathies go out to Phil Hughes’ family, friends and team-mates at this incredibly sad time.

“Phil was admired and respected by all he played with and against and will never be forgotten by the cricket community.”

Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, said Hughes was “an extremely popular and hugely respected cricketer in England and Wales” and “will be missed throughout the world of cricket”.

Former England star
Kevin Pietersen

said Hughes was “growing and maturing into a magnificent cricketer”.

“He was on course to do some really great things for Australia,” he said. “He had a brilliant start to his career, it’s just such a sad loss.”

Indian icon
Sachin Tendulkar,

who played alongside Hughes in the Indian Premier League, added: “Shocked to hear about Phil. Sad day for cricket. Deepest condolences to family, friends and well wishers. RIP.”

The International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a statement offered its “deepest condolences to the family and friends” of Hughes.

ICC chairman Mr Narayanaswami Srinivasan added: “We are all shocked and saddened with the news of Phillip’s passing.

Players console each other at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. 27 Nov 2014

Australian cricketers have been consoling each other at St Vincent’s Hospital

“On behalf of the entire cricket community, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Hughes, who had played 26 Tests,
made his Test debut at the age of 20

against South Africa in 2009.

In only his second match, he became
the youngest batsman to post two centuries in a single Test.

He played county cricket for Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire

and shared in what was at the time a world record 10th-wicket partnership of 163 with Ashton Agar against England in the 2013 Ashes series.

He has been tipped for a recall ahead of the upcoming series against India, which is due to start next week.

Cricket Australia had already decided to abandon the latest round of Sheffield Shield matches following the injury to Hughes.

After his death was announced,
cricket officials from Pakistan and New Zealand chose to postpone the second day’s play

in the third and final Test between the two countries.

“It’s a sad day for cricket,” Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said in a statement.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White added: “Cricket is a family. Quite apart from its super-competitive edge, it is a game of kinship, mateship and friendship; of camaraderie and community.”

A two-day tour match between a Cricket Australia XI and India,

scheduled to be played in Adelaide on Friday and Saturday,
has been cancelled.

In English cricket,
Thursday’s planned release of the 2015 county championship fixtures has also been postponed.

The death of Hughes has inevitably sparked
further discussion about player safety in cricket

and the use of helmets.

“It’s an incredibly safe game, but I think this will shake batsmen slightly out of what might have been complacency,” said former England captain and opening batsman Michael Atherton.

“I wore the same helmet for 10 years. I never changed it. I didn’t give it much thought really. If there is that kind of complacency that I was guilty of, then I think people will be shaken out of that.”

Former England captain Mike Gatting believes everything possible is being done
to make helmets safe.

Gatting, who had his nose shattered by a Malcolm Marshall delivery in the West Indies in 1986, described the incident involving Hughes as “just a one-off, a freak accident”.

Emergency vehicles and helicopter at Sydney Cricket Ground. 25 Nov 2014

An emergency helicopter landed on the cricket ground as Phillip Hughes was being treated

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/30219440

Australia Medibank makes stock debut

Outside a Medibank branchMedibank is the biggest listing of a state-owned asset in Australia since Telstra in 1997

Australian health insurer Medibank made its stock market debut after raising A$5.679bn (£3.1bn; $4.9bn) in Asia’s biggest public offering in two years.

Tuesday’s listing on the Australian Securities Exchange was the biggest of a state-owned asset in 18 years.

Shares first traded at a premium of A$2.22, compared to A$2.15 that institutional investors had paid and A$2 that retail investors paid.

The move was part of the government’s plan to sell A$130bn in assets.

Traders had said shares would sell 13% higher than the price that 440,000 retail investors, who own 60% of the firm, paid to subscribe to the listing.

Medibank’s shares are appealing for investors keen to gain exposure to Australia’s booming health industry, which benefits from generous state subsidies and is boosted by a wealthy ageing population.

The debut was the largest share offer of a state firm since the government sold Telstra in 1997.

The country’s largest private health insurer was set up in 1975 by Australia’s Health Insurance Commission, now known as Medicare Australia.

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Analysis: Phil Mercer, BBC Sydney Correspondent

It’s Australia’s most anticipated share offer of the year.

Experts predict that shares will soar when trading begins at midday Sydney time (0100 GMT), and there is an expectation their value will climb to A$2.50 by the end of the year.

Another big winner is Australia’s federal government. The privatisation of such a valuable and well-known asset has raised A$5.67bn.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the cash will be ploughed into infrastructure and would generate a wealth of jobs.

Medibank was set up in the mid-1970s to compete in Australia’s private insurance market.

It has been a lucrative enterprise, although net profits slipped from A$232.7m in 2012/13 to A$130.8m in the year to June.

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Clarke named in Australia squad

Captain Michael Clarke has been named in the Australia squad for the first Test against India, subject to proving his fitness after a hamstring injury.

The 33-year-old batsman

suffered the problem

in the first one-day international against South Africa earlier this month.

Pace bowler Ryan Harris is also included for the first time since March after knee surgery.

The first of four Tests begins in Brisbane on 4 December.

The third instance of Clarke injuring his left hamstring in the space of six weeks caused him to miss the remaining four ODIs against South Africa

in a series that Australia won 4-1.

Clarke, who has scored 8,297 runs in 107 Tests, will play for a Cricket Australia XI against the tourists in a two-day match beginning on 28 November if he continues to respond to daily treatment.

Ten of the 12-man squad played in every match of Australia’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash last winter, with batsman Mitchell Marsh and uncapped seamer Josh Hazlewood also included.

In the absence of regular captain MS Dhoni, India will be led by batsman Virat Kohli at the Gabba.

Australia squad:

Michael Clarke (captain), Chris Rogers, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris.

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