Tributes have been paid to promising young Sussex fast bowler and potential England international Matthew Hobden, who has died aged 22. Hobden had played in limited-overs and first-class matches since he joined his home county out of university in 2013.
Hobden was one of six pacemen who was selected to take part in the Potential England Performance Programme (PEPP) this winter in South Africa, where the senior England team are playing. After the tragic news emerged that he had died on 2 January, Sussex County Cricket Club made a statement on their website saying that they were "deeply shocked and saddened".
Cricket world pays tribute
Sussex County Cricket Club said after Hobden's death: "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 and academy ranks, having been born locally in Eastbourne.
"He made his first-class debut for Sussex in 2014 and had represented the county across all three formats over the past two seasons. He will be greatly missed."
Born in Eastbourne, Hobden, was educated at Millfield School in Somerset, where he was friends with singer Ella Eyre. He studied Business Economics at Cardiff Metropolitan University and also played first-class cricket for the university team.
After leaving the course he turned his main focus to cricket making his debut for Sussex on 19 August 2013 against Essex. The cause of his death is currently not known, but the Daily Mail did report that he died suddenly whilst on a trip to Scotland.
His last first class match came against Nottinghamshire on 19 July this year. He was due to fly out to Johannesburg this January to train with the England side ahead of a one-day international series against South Africa.
Tributes have been led by a number of senior England internationals and former internationals. Former Sussex and England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior wrote on Twitter: "A great guy with a huge future taken far too soon. #riphobsy."
Paul Collingwood, former England one-day captain, said: "So saddened to hear about the death of Matt Hobden, an extremely talented young cricketer." Whilst current international Ben Stokes said: "R.I.P Matthew Hobden… horrible news to wake up to,thoughts with the family and everyone at @SussexCCC #cricketfamily"
It is the latest death to rock the cricket world in recent years. In 2014, Australian international batsman Phil Hughes died after was struck on the head by a bouncer. He suffered a ruptured artery before he was taken to hospital where he died two days later.
In June 2012, another promising young cricketer died when he was electrocuted on a live rail track and then hit by a Tube train at Wimbledon Park Underground Station after a night out. Tom Maynard, 23, was high on drugs at the time and had taken cocaine and MDMA regularly in the 14 weeks before he died at Wimbledon Park Underground Station.
Maynard was driving to his girlfriend's house and was stopped by police when he was around four and half times over the drink-drive limit. He fled from them on foot and Maynard's lifeless body was found slumped on the train tracks just over an hour afterwards.
Former England captain Brian Close died at the age of 84 in September this year. Close, who also led Yorkshire and Somerset during a 18-year career, made his international debut in 1949 at the age of 18 against New Zealand at Old Trafford, a record that still sees him stand as the youngest player to play a Test match for England.