Thatscricket - News - Condolences continue to pour for David Hookes

Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2004, 17:13 [IST]
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Melbourne:Condolences flowed in from sporting figures, politicians and fans around the world as Australia went into mourning for former Test cricketer David Hookes, who died of head injuries from a weekend assault.

The tragic death dominated the media on Tuesday, with the country shocked over the attack on the 48-year-old former batsman whose carefree, swashbuckling style made him a hero to a generation of young Aussie cricket fans.

It emerged that hotel bouncer Zdravco Micevic, 21, who has been charged with assaulting Hookes, is already awaiting trial accused of intentionally causing serious injury to another hotel patron in late 2002.

As police consider laying further charges, it was also reported that Micevic had trained as a boxer and that a manager of one of the pubs where he worked had complained recently about his excessively aggressive confrontations with patrons.

Micevik was released on bail by a Melbourne magistrate who banned him from working as a crowd controller and ordered him to reappear for committal on a charge of assaulting Hookes outside a pub in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda just before midnight on Sunday.

The Victorian State Government promised an overhaul of legislation covering the conduct of security guards and hotel bouncers following the tragedy.

It followed an attack this month on another Australian hero, former world champion boxer Jeff Fenech who was slashed outside a Sydney restaurant, and has raised questions about the vulnerability of high-profile people to violence.

"I think it's increasing and maybe it's an extension of the tall poppy syndrome, but it's been around for a while where people will target elite athletes," Australian Institute of Sport psychologist Jeff Bond told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Former Test captain Steve Waugh, who played his last match for Australia on January 6, said his brother Mark had been abused on the street recently and it was becoming increasingly difficult for sporting people to go out because of the risk of attack.

Waugh said he felt "physically sick" when he heard the news about his friend "Hookesy".

South Australian born Hookes, whose 178 first class matches included 23 Tests and 39 One-day matches for Australia, latterly coached the Victoria state side which leads the Sheffield Shield competition.

Hookes, survived by his wife Robyn and two step-children, shot to fame on his Test debut in the 1977 Australia-England Centenary Test when he scored five fours off one over by England captain Tony Grieg, who described Hookes' death as an absolute tragedy.

Australian golfer Greg Norman, another of many high-profile Australians shocked by the death, said in Los Angeles, "For the life of me I don't understand senseless, stupid, friggin' accidents like this. I mean, what a waste of somebody's life.

"I knew Hookesy very, very well and as a matter of a fact every time I went down to Australia we pretty much had a conversation each time."

The BBC's cricket expert Jonathan Agnew, who saw Hookes debut at the Centenary Test in Melbourne told ABC radio what he remembered was "this very good looking, fair-haired, blue-eyed, all Australian boy really bursting onto the scene. "He did have an enormous impact on Australian cricket."

Australia mourns death of cricket star Hookes

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