Thatscricket - News - Australia mourns death of cricket star Hookes

Published: Monday, January 19, 2004, 21:16 [IST]
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Melbourne:Australia's cricket community mourned former Test batsman and current Victorian coach David Hookes, who died after an assault outside a pub.

Hookes, 48, suffered a major head injury in the attack in the St Kilda suburb of Melbourne shortly before midnight on Sunday.

He was taken to the Alfred Hospital, where he lay in a coma throughout the day in the intensive care unit. His brother Terry Cranagh later announced Hookes had died of the injuries.

The news shocked former teammates and opponents, as well as Australia's present-day cricketers.

"I felt physically very sick this morning when I heard the news, and it really is terrible," said recently retired Test captain Steve Waugh, whose first Test in 1985-86 coincided with the last of Hookes' 23-match career. Waugh's successor Ricky Ponting said it was "terribly sad news".

"Sitting with the guys at the airport this morning everyone was in a state of shock and no one could believe what happened," Ponting said at Sydney Airport after Sunday's loss to India in an International One-dayer in Brisbane.

"It's hit everyone pretty hard, all we can do as a team is say our hearts go out to David, his family and his friends and everyone involved with cricket in Victoria and South Australia, let them know we are thinking of them and that our best wishes go out to them."

Test selector and former captain Allan Border described his friend as a "larger-than-life character". "It's hard to come to grips with that we might not be seeing him again," Border told ABC radio before his death was announced.

"We've been very close mates going back to schoolboy cricket days so this has hit pretty hard," said Border, who appeared with Hookes on the Fox Sports program Inside Cricket.

Hookes' Victorian players were told early on Monday of their coach's plight. The group remained at Cricket Victoria headquarters for several hours trying to take in the news.

Former England captain Tony Greig, who Hookes smashed for five successive fours in one over in his debut in the Centenary Test of 1976-77, said the incident was an "absolute tragedy". "One of the great tragedies about this, is that he's having a very exciting time in his life," Greig said.

"He's broken into the media and he's quoted a lot, he's also coaching one of Australia's leading cricket teams."

Former teammate Ian Chappell said Hookes was not an aggressive man. "He was always prepared to speak his opinion and we might have got an animated discussion out of him but certainly not fighting," former Test skipper Chappell said. "It sounds like a classic case of wrong place at the wrong time."

Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak said he and his team, in Australia for a tri-nations One-day series, were shocked when they heard the news. "Most of our players know David and of course our coach Geoff Marsh had played with him and against him over the years," Streak said.

Close friend Ernie Els found his joy at retaining the US PGA Tour's Sony Open title quickly tempered. "I've got chills. It's terrible," South Africa's world No 3 said from Hawaii.

Former Aus cricketer Hookes dies after assault

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