When Phillip Hughes, the 25 year old Australian cricketer was struck with a bouncer and collapsed to ground, the cricketing community was in serious shock. Sometime the very next day, as Hughes was in coma, battling for life, the grief of what had happened did not stay limited to the cricketing world alone. Messages were already pouring in from corners of the world and from sportspersons who had nothing to do with cricket or had never even heard of the young lad from New South Wales before. But perhaps the greatest tribute to the player came a day after he tragically passed away, unable to survive the blow to his head.
Paul Taylor (@Squizabilly), an ex-club cricketer and sports lover, put out his bat outside his front door with a cap on it and tagged the photo #putoutyourbats on Twitter.
As if to recognize Taylor’s contribution as one of the best tributes to young Hughes’s contribution to cricket, Google Australia too put out a doodle with a bat and cap on it, furthering the cause of the hashtag.
Within hours, thousands of Australians had joined in and #putoutyourbats had become a viral hashtag on Twitter. By the next day’s sunrise, cricket lovers and players from around then world had participated in the hashtag and #putoutyourbats had, in a way, taken the Internet by storm.
Pictures came in from as far as Scotland, Canada, and even United States of America, where cricket is played on a minimal basis within select migrant communities.
In the end, Joe McCusker summed it up in one tweet – “Never had any cricketers life had such an impact on the world.”
The #putoutyourbats hashtag is an instinctive outpouring of grief and support from around the world, for a young cricketer, everyone believed went away too early. It once again brought to fore, the importance of social media and its unprecedented reach and connect.