SYDNEY: Cricket bats were pictured leaning against front doors, stadiums and statues on Friday as the spontaneous #putoutyourbats tribute to fallen batsman Phillip Hughes went viral.
Pictures of bats posted with the hashtag flooded Twitter as ordinary fans and star players alike joined in the touching memorial, a day after the 25-year-old’s death.
West Indies legend Viv Richards was among the cricketers to contribute, and Google Australia’s home page was decorated with the simple picture of a bat.
Previously anonymous Sydney cricket fan Paul D. Taylor, who started the campaign, tweeted that he was “amazed and humbled” by the response.
He politely said “thank you, but no thank you” to media outlets requesting interviews, explaining: “#putoutyourbats isn’t about me.
“It’s just a way for all cricketers to show their respects to Phillip Hughes,” Taylor wrote, under his handle @Squizabilly.
“We’ve all played cricket in one way or other. Backyard or beach cricket, no matter what level we’ve all grown up with a bat and ball. This is our way to connect and show our sadness.”
Tributes to Hughes, who died from head injuries on Thursday two days after taking a ball to the head while batting, were taking place throughout the sporting world.
Flags flew at half-mast at Melbourne Cricket Ground and local cricket teams around Australia and India paused to observe a minute’s silence for the Australian international.
Golf’s world number one Rory McIlroy, playing at the Australian Open in Sydney, had a black ribbon pinned to his cap.
Pakistan and New Zealand, who called off Thursday’s play in the third Test in Sharjah, observed a minute’s silence and wore black armbands in tribute when the match resumed on Friday.
Before heading out, the New Zealand players placed their bats outside the team’s dressing with their national black caps on them to join the “#putoutyourbats” campaign.
Fans of Western Sydney Wanderers planned a minute’s applause at 63 minutes — Hughes’ score when he was struck down — of Saturday’s derby match against Sydney FC.
And Australia’s rugby team will wear black armbands when they play England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal and New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team were among the large and diverse group to send their condolences after the extremely rare fatality. (AFP)