May be he was thinking of his team-mate Phillip Hughes, who was the 13th man of Australia's squad for the first Test against India, despite succumbing to injuries two weeks ago. May be he was thinking whether he should have bowled that bouncer to Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who was still adjusting his helmet after being hit in the middle. May be he was thinking how Hughes would have felt when he suffered a vicious blow at the Sydney Cricket Ground. May be he was thinking about the pain suffered by all those batsmen who had been hit on the helmet while batting against his intimidating pace right throughout the year. But whatever it was, Mitchell Johnson looked terribly upset after bowling that bouncer to Kohli on Day 3 of the Adelaide Test.
It was a rare sight. Hardly do we see Australian players sympathising with the batsman after one of their premier bowlers has knocked off the helmet. Yes, they do approach the batsman, but only to further hamper his confidence by sledging. This time, seconds after Kohli was hit on the helmet first ball, the entire Australian squad rushed towards him to make sure he was all right. Even before Rahane could reach at the striker's end, Kohli was surrounded by the Aussies who wanted to be absolutely sure he wasn't in any trouble.
After bowling the next delivery, as Johnson turned back, he was composed by Michael Clarke – the man who has won a million hearts in the last two weeks with the way he has spoken about his fondness for his 'little brother' Hughes. Even when the players had left, the two umpires stood next to Kohli who probably wanted him to take some more time before taking guard.
Kohli resumed the innings and went on to score a magnificent century.
While his three-figured knock on his Test captaincy debut was the talk of the town, something which was talked about for the entire day was that one bouncer Johnson bowled to Kohli.
Yes, it was a good ball from the left-armer and Kohli definitely didn’t have a clue about that one. But the gesture by the Aussies the moment it hit Kohli, was something which we are likely to see in the days to come.
It isn't that a batsman was hit on the helmet for the first time this year. There have been times when blood has spilled all over. There have been times when batsmen have missed international cricket due to skull fracture. But sooner or later, all those batsmen came back to the cricket field to play a new innings. Unfortunately, Hughes couldn't.
It is the reason why the Aussies in particular, would become gentler towards any batsman, who suffers a blow against them. Not just the Aussies, all world class speedsters would now be wary of the damage their bouncers could cause to a batsman.
Thud! – that sound hitting the helmet isn’t fascinating anymore post Hughes' tragic death.
I read a comment on an article somewhere where a cricket fan had come up with a brilliant suggestion saying the score 63 – which was Hughes' score before he was rushed to the hospital, should be declared as the 'Phillip Score'
But above all these suggestions, if the tragic incident could make cricket a gentler game, there couldn't be a better tribute for the dynamic left-hander.