Remembering 408, twelve months on

There was a tribute to Phillip Hughes at 4.08 pm Getty Images

Perched in the top left corner of the venerable Adelaide Oval scoreboard on Friday was a small addition to its 104-year old visage. "Remembering 408" was a minimalist message, but a suitable signifier of the mark left by Phillip Hughes a year ago. Like the scoreboard itself, Hughes' memory will always endure, and the addition of those words will leave the board, like the game, forever changed.

A broad array of emotions has been evident among all the players gathering in Adelaide this week. As was the case on the awful days and weeks after Hughes' death, not everyone is in exactly the same place. Some have kept Hughes at the front of their minds every day since, and as a result will not feel too different. But others, who tried to push the events of last November to the backs of their minds, must wrestle with the presence of many reminders.

The contrast was summed up by Steve O'Keefe and Peter Siddle, two men with plenty of vivid memories of Hughes, but differing approaches to his memory. For O'Keefe, who was among those players at the SCG on the day Hughes was felled, this week was another in which he would be reminded of how events so jolted him, but also how he ultimately resolved to carry on with the game.

"I think the game has changed for me forever," O'Keefe said. "It lost a bit of its context in regards to what it meant to me. Your perspective changes I think. You play a game that's meant to be fun, meant to be in a great contest, and in the blink of a ball it completely changes on you.

"It's not what it was but that's how fragile life is and the game is changed, but it made me reassess why I play the game. And I play it because I love it and it's the same reason why Phil played it and the same reason my team-mates play it, because we love that competition and what we do."

Siddle reflected the other position, of having to deal with images and memories previously put to one side. "We've sort of distanced ourselves a little bit, haven't thought too much about it," he said. "We're just worrying about the cricket side of things, getting back here after a few days at home.

"It's always nice to spend a bit of time with the boys and get comfy in the new environment but get into the cricket side of things. Start training, start our preparations and get into the cricket stuff. But I think as the day comes closer it'll probably dawn on us a little bit more then but at this stage it's been good. It's been at the back of our minds, which is a nice thing."

David Warner has tried to forge a path between these two poles. "Our preparation has been like any other Test match that we play," he said. "There were a lot of emotions this time last year. That's one thing in the back of a lot of our minds. But end of the day we have to come out here and play a game that we love. It's about crossing that line, putting out cricket caps on and thinking about the job ahead.

"We always know our mate is looking down on us and we'll always do our best for him every time we walk out on the field. As we have done so in the last 12 months. So I don't think it's going to change anything this game. We've said from the first Test last year when we played here, he's with us every day."

Hughes' death took a toll on many across Australian cricket. But it has helped somewhat that last year's Test ended in a cathartic victory, not least for Nathan Lyon who took seven wickets on the final afternoon. "Definitely, no doubt that helped," he said. "That game is pretty special for a lot of reasons obviously, but I look back at that game with a lot of pride and a lot of memories I try to look back on and re-live. It's one of those games that's going to stick with me for the rest of my life and it's pretty special. I look back at it a fair bit."

It is in many ways fitting that this week is being shared by New Zealand. A year ago they were on the other side of the world, playing a Test match against Pakistan in Dubai, when news of Hughes' death reverberated around the globe. Ross Taylor remembered the impact of those events, and also how he sought a way to do something about it, contacting Sean Abbott to tell him he was in their thoughts.

"It definitely touched our team, and touched the world," Taylor told ESPNcricinfo. "Just thinking about it now it feels like it didn't happen that long ago, there were a lot of emotions. I'd played against him and never had the chance to play with him, but the effects that has on us as people will be until the end of our careers I think. It was an emotional time.

"I sent a message to Trent [Woodhill] and a few of the Australian players. I said to Trent, 'Mate I feel like I want to do something,' and he said 'send him a message,' so Trent sent me his number, I didn't expect to have a reply back from him, but got one back straight away.

"I've never met the bloke, and we had discussions two and fro a few messages. It's a sad story about Hughesy, but it's amazing how Sean's out there playing and giving it 100% after what he had to go through over the last little while."

In this can be found the more redemptive elements of the past 12 months. Cricket has become a little less combative, a little more friendly, and certainly more safety conscious. "I think everyone around the world, that feeling was echoed and I think the positive to take out of it was how strong the cricket community is, how everyone bonded together," O'Keefe said. "That's the thing that I want to remember out of that.

"Guys from every team, from every state, all around the country and the world. I remember seeing the Indians present at the funeral and to me it's just a game but it's more than that. Cricket is a big family and as much as you like to compete on the field, we know it's a game we just enjoy and love and I try to look at it as positively as possible. As much as it does get emotional and I just hope in my lifetime I never have to see anything like that again and we can remember Phillip Hughes for what he was, a great bloke and even better player."

Ironically, Taylor has been the subject of a debate over the Australian team's behaviour after they did not shake his hand after his dismissal for a mammoth 290 in Perth last week. But he noted that the teams have shared drinks after each of the first two Tests in this series, and that all now played the game in a spirit influenced by Hughes.

"Anytime you play against Australia you know they're going to play hard, aggressive cricket, and if they didn't I think something would be wrong," Taylor said. "Off the field the teams get along really well and we've caught up after both Test matches. It's good to know a few of them - with IPL you get to play with a few of them, but there's a lot I haven't played with either, so it's good to know them.

"It's something in cricket that's been lost, and Brendon [McCullum's] got to take a lot of credit for that, he's been big on that right from when he started. I'm not saying it should be friendly cricket, because I don't think that's the way it should be, but camaraderie off the paddock is good and I hope it continues. Life's too short to take it off the field."

At the other end of Adelaide Oval to the scoreboard, the new Riverbank Stand was the place chosen for the South Australian Cricket Association memorial to Hughes, with flowers and tributes mounting up affectingly over the course of last summer. A year on, the memorial has gone, but something else has emerged in its place that will draw knowing nods from those who knew Hughes - a new coffee shop.

"He'd just catch your eye and say, 'Latte?'" Usman Khawaja recalled in Phillip Hughes, the Official Biography. "He was always up for it. I don't know how much coffee he drank, but it was a lot."