Brutal punch in pub kills David Hookes - Ex-Australian star turned commentator and coach falls in celebration brawl

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By (AGENCIES) in Melbourne
  • Published 20.01.04

Melbourne: Former Australian Test player and Victorian state coach David Hookes died in hospital Monday after being assaulted outside a Melbourne pub late last night. Hookes was revived by ambulance paramedics after the assault outside a hotel in the Melbourne bayside suburb of St Kilda.

He had serious head injuries and never regained consciousness. His death was announced Monday night by his brother, Terry Cranagh.

Police have charged a 22-year-old man, who was believed to have been working as a security guard at the hotel when the attack took place.

In April 2002, Hookes was named coach of the Victorian team. A former player with South Australia state, the 48-year-old Hookes played Hookes played 23 Tests between 1977 and 1986 scoring 1,306 runs at 34.36 and played 39 one-day Internationals for 826 runs. He retired in 1992 and has been a radio commentator.

Clark Forbes, the programme director at Melbourne radio station 3AW, where Hookes was a member of the on-air team, said the attack was so brutal that ambulance paramedics worked to revive Hookes for half an hour after he was ‘technically dead’.

“He was revived on the footpath outside the hotel concerned, which is a St Kilda late-night pub where the team had been celebrating Saturday’s win over South Australia,” Forbes said.

A St Kilda resident said he had heard some female voices yelling “stop it, leave him alone”. He then saw a man fall to the ground after being punched in the face, and only found out later it was Hookes.

Joseph told reporters he saw what he thought was a bouncer throw a left hook at Hookes’ face. “I heard a really loud cracking sound when this happened, the guy that was hurt then just fell backwards and smashed the back of his head on the road.”

Another eyewitness to the incident, Roman Longer, told ABC Radio here that more than a dozen people were involved in the melee. “There was a group of maybe 14 people involved, two groups, a security fellow who was sort of trying to step between the two groups, women screaming and it was at that time that we decided to ring police,” he said.

Hookes has been one of Australia’s most successful coaches after a celebrated career as a middle-order batsman. His state side is currently leading the national Sheffield Shield competition.

The South Australian left-handed batsman debuted for Australia in the 1977 centenary Test against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and scored a dashing half-century which included five boundaries off one over from England all-rounder Tony Greig.

The blond left-hander had forced his way into a strong Australia side, taking 29 runs from an over by Victoria leg-spinner Colin Thwaites during his maiden century for South Australia.

Hookes, 21, his bat held together by scraps of white tape, showed no sign of nerves in posting a half-century despite a verbal baiting from the towering England captain.

Greig said Australians reminded him every day of the way the 21-year-old Hookes had brought spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to their feet.

Hookes was an automatic signing for Kerry Packer’s rebel World Series Cricket circuit which split the international game in 1977-78. But his career was affected when West Indies fast bowler Andy Robert broke his jaw with a vicious bouncer and he never fulfilled at test level the potential he had shown in his maiden Test.

He was the fifth-highest run-scorer in the Australia interstate four-day competition with 9,364 runs in 120 matches including a highest score of 306 not out. He holds the record for the fastest century in Australia interstate four-day cricket, taking 34 balls to reach his hundred for South Australia against Victoria in 1982-83.