Cricket weeps at the untimely demise of Matthew Hobden: After the tragic on-field bereavement of Phillip Hughes, Ankit Keshri and Raymond van Schoor, the cricketing fraternity comes to terms with the untimely death of Sussex pacer Matthew Hobden who passed away yesterday aged 22 owing to a cause which has not been revealed. The young fast bowler’s decease was announced by his club in a press release yesterday evening which read, ‘’Matthew was an exciting young cricketer with a big future ahead of him in the game. He was a fantastic individual who had progressed through Sussex’s youth ranks, having been born locally in Eastbourne. Sussex would like to offer their deepest condolences to Matthew’s family and friends at this difficult time’’.
Incidentally, Hobden along with five other emerging players in the county circuit were due to travel South Africa with the Potential England Performance Programme in January. It is learnt that Hobden was on the selectors’ radar for a place in the England squad for their forthcoming ODI series against the hosts in the Rainbow Nation. Hobden made his First Class debut for Cardiff MCCU three years ago in 2012 and his first team debut for Sussex in a One-Day match against Nottinghamshire the following year. He played his First-Class debut for Sussex in 2014 and in the 2015/16 county season, he scalped 48 wickets in 10 games at a decent average of 39.35.
Sussex have expressed ‘their deepest condolences’ over the incident on their website saying, ‘’Players and staff will be offered as much support as is possible and we would like both Matthew’s family and everyone connected with Sussex cricket, to be respected with privacy at this time’’.
The senior English team which is squaring off against South Africa in a 3 match away Test series wore black armbands on Day 2 of the second Test as a mark of respect for Hobden. Hailed as a ‘naturally gifted player’ with oodles of ‘raw pace’, Hobden was described by Professional Cricketers’ Association as a ‘young seamer with immense potential’. According to Angus Porter, the CEO of Professional Cricketers’ Association, ‘’ Matt had been identified by Sussex as a player with a bright future in the game when he took two five-wicket hauls during his stint with Cardiff MCCU. The PCA are deeply saddened to hear about his death at the age of just 22 and our thoughts and sympathy go out to his family, friends, colleagues and everyone associated with Sussex. We will work closely with Sussex to ensure that their players and coaching staff are supported during this difficult period for the club’’.
Naturally, the cricketing community in England has been appalled by this gloomy happenstance. Several former and current England players took to twitter to pay homage to their once team-mate or compatriot.
limited overs Captain Eoin Morgan tweeted, ‘’Thoughts and prayers are with Matthew Hobden’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time’’.
Thoughts and prayers are with Matt Hobden's family and friends at this extremely difficult time.
— Eoin Morgan (@Eoin16) January 2, 2016
Former England and Sussex wicket-keeper Matt Prior ricocheted the same sentiment in his tweet, ‘’Thoughts and prayers with all of Matt Hobden’s family at this tragic time. A great guy with a huge future taken far too soon. Riphobsy’.
Thoughts & prayers with all of Matt Hobden's family at this tragic time. A great guy with a huge future taken far too soon. #riphobsy
— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) January 2, 2016
— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) January 2, 2016
England’s premier seam bowling all-rounder who scored a magnificent double ton at Newlands earlier today was saddened to hear of Hobden’s loss. ‘’R.I.P Matthew Hobden…horrible news to wake up to, thoughts with the family and everyone at @SussexCCC #cricket family’’, Stokes tweeted on Sunday morning.
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) January 3, 2016
News of this distressing incident sent tremors across the demesnes of English cricket as is evident from former England and Durham skipper Paul Collingwood’s tweet,’’ So saddened to hear about the death of Matthew Hobden, an extremely talented young cricketer at Sussex. All our thoughts are with his family’’.
So saddened to hear about the death of Matt Hobden, an extremely talented young cricketer at Sussex. All our thoughts are with his family
— Paul Collingwood (@Colly622) January 2, 2016
Perhaps the most incisive tribute to Hobden was paid by his Sussex captain Ed Joyce, who had seen the former rise through the ranks in the realms of domestic cricket. Hobden had a topsy-turvy run with the ball early last season as he bowled a series of no-balls in a match against Middlesex. It was Joyce who came in support of Hobden back then and asserted that the youngster would go on to become a potent asset for the side in the near future. On hearing of his team-mate’s sudden demise, Joyce exclaimed, ‘’In shock. Can’t get my head around the news. RIP Matt Hobden. Thoughts with his family. #riphobsy’’.
In shock. Can't get my head around the news. RIP Matt Hobden. Thoughts with his family #riphobsy
— Ed Joyce (@edjoyce24) January 2, 2016
It’s unfortunate to see so many cricketers sink into oblivion, resulting in a gradual decay and in the territories of cricket.
Hopefully, 2016 will gleam for more ebullient cricketing moments than such horrific and melancholic incidents by the time it finishes..