SOUTH Australia Cricket Association CEO Keith Bradshaw choked up when explaining how popular Phil Hughes was among his organisation, and the wider cricket and sporting world.
He was not the only grown man to shed a tear over one of cricket's great tragedies, with the Redbacks and fringe Australian opening batsman still in a critical condition at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney late yesterday.
Hughes was accidentally struck by a bouncer from his former Blues teammate Sean Abbott in the Sheffield Shield fixture at the SCG on Tuesday, with all three Shield games across the country abandoned as a result.
Many big cricket names were at Hughes' bedside yesterday, including Australian captain Michael Clarke, vice-captain Brad Haddin, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques, Daniel Smith and even boxer Anthony Mundine, who is a close friend.
Bradshaw spoke for all who have known Hughes when describing how
well-loved he was at the Redbacks, struggling to hold back tears.
"He's a terrific guy and this is a tragic event," Bradshaw said. "Everyone is just devastated. We're just praying that he's okay.
"Absolutely he's one of the favourites.
"We're waiting to get the results and just praying those results are positive."
The cricket and sporting world held its breath yesterday after Australian team doctor Peter Brukner said mid-afternoon that Hughes was still in intensive care in a critical condition.
"Phillip's condition is unchanged, and he remains critical," Brukner said.
Bradshaw said the SACA was doing everything it could to support grieving players, with so many all around the country close to Hughes.
"The plan is purely about their welfare right now. Cricket and other things are secondary at the moment," Bradshaw said.
"It's purely about looking after Phillip and the players and staff as best we can, and with the information that we have. There's counselling that we've made available to them. We have a chaplain. All the support measures we can put in place, we've done that."
Abbott offered counselling in wake of sickening injury
New South Wales all-rounder Sean Abbott is not alone as he battles his demons following Tuesday's accident that left South Australian batsman Phil Hughes in a critical condition in a Sydney hospital.
Abbott was the bowler who delivered the bouncer that caught Hughes on the back of the head, forcing him to be rushed to hospital by ambulance.
Abbott was a former Blues teammate of Hughes and was one of the first players to attend to the Redbacks opener, cradling his head as medics were on their way to the SCG.
"It says a lot about Sean, doesn't it," Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said on radio yesterday.
"Sean will have all the support he needs around him. I'm sure his teammates and everyone don't feel in any way ill of him for what happened. It's a freak, freak incident."
Sutherland said counselling was being provided to Abbott and any players and support staff who needed it.