Australian batsman Phil Hughes has undergone emergency surgery and was in a critical condition in a Sydney hospital after he was hit on the head by a bouncer in a domestic first-class cricket match on Tuesday.

Hughes, who was wearing a protective batting helmet, reeled back and then bent forward momentarily after the impact of the short-pitch delivery before falling to the ground.

He was treated and ventilated on the field by medical experts, including doctors who were flown by helicopter onto the Sydney Cricket Ground, before being taken to nearby St Vincent's Hospital by ambulance.

Hospital spokesman David Faktor said Hughes arrived in a critical condition and had scans before undergoing surgery.

The hospital confirmed later on Tuesday that Hughes was out of surgery and remained in a critical condition in intensive care.

Match cancelled

The Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales, where Hughes was born and raised, and South Australia, where he now plays, was cancelled.

South Australia Cricket Association high performance manager Tim Nielsen said the outcome of the surgery was unlikely to be known for one or two days, and he requested privacy for the Hughes family and friends who had gathered at the hospital.

The 25-year-old Hughes was considered a strong contender to play in the first Test against India next week if injured skipper Michael Clarke was forced out by a lingering hamstring strain.

He was batting confidently on 63 when he was hit on the back, left side of the head by a bouncer from New South Wales fast bowler Sean Abbott.

Hughes has played 26 Test matches for Australia since his debut in 2009 but hasn't been able to cement a regular spot in the starting line-up.

Source: Agencies