In a touching display of remembrance, Australian pace sensation Mitchell Starc wore a black armband embroidered with the initials PH as he delivered the opening ball in the World Cup 2023 final against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. This heartfelt tribute served as a poignant reminder of the late Phil Hughes, a beloved Australian cricketer whose tragic demise in 2014 left an indelible mark on the cricketing world.
When Australia won the World Cup in 2015, Clarke said the team had 16 members in the squad and he will wear the PH armband for the rest of his career
Phil Hughes: A Tragic Chapter in Cricket’s History
Phil Hughes, a talented Test and One-Day International cricketer, met a tragic end at the age of 25 in 2014. Struck in the neck by a bouncer while playing for New South Wales, Hughes collapsed on the field and, despite immediate medical attention, succumbed to his injuries. His untimely death prompted significant safety protocol changes in cricket, leading to the introduction of enhanced helmets and neckguards.
Mitchell Starc’s Subtle Tribute
Starc, a close friend and teammate of Hughes, chose a black armband for the World Cup final, a symbol that has become synonymous with honouring the memory of the late cricketer. This choice took centre stage as Starc, known for his fiery left-arm pace, responded to his skipper’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
Starc’s Impactful Performance
Despite Australia’s initial struggles in the group stages, Starc showcased his prowess, claiming the first wicket of the final in a tense start. His pivotal contributions included dismissing the well-set KL Rahul and later taking the wicket of Mohammed Shami to secure his third scalp of the match. Starc’s exceptional form throughout the tournament, with a total of 16 wickets, played a crucial role in Australia’s success.
Australia’s Decision to Field First Pays Off
Backed by Pat Cummins’ stellar performance, Australia’s decision to bowl first proved decisive as they successfully contained the Indian innings to a below-par total. Starc’s early breakthroughs set the tone for a dominant Australian display, ultimately leading to their triumph in the World Cup 2023 final.