Bowler left dazed by fa­tal de­liv­ery to Hughes

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralian crick­eter Sean Ab­bott was left up­set and dazed for days af­ter he bowled the ball which fa­tally in­jured bats­man Phillip Hughes, a coro­ner’s in­quest has been told.

Ab­bott, now aged 24, wrote in a state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day that he had al­ways looked up to Hughes, and had run to the bats­man and held his head as he lay on the pitch at the Syd­ney Cricket Ground.

“Once in the chang­e­room I felt con­fused and up­set, I had a headache, peo­ple kept com­ing up to me but I can­not re­mem­ber what they said,” Ab­bott said.

“It was all a bit of a blur and I felt like I was in a bit of a daze. I felt super tired. These feel­ings stayed with me for the next few days.” Hughes, 25, died two days af­ter the rising de­liv­ery hit him in the neck dur­ing a do­mes­tic Sh­effield Shield match be­tween New South Wales and South Aus­tralia in Novem­ber 2014.

The blow caused a bleed on the brain from which death was likely “in­evitable”, the in­quest has been told. The in­quest, in which the coro­ner is ex­am­in­ing the man­ner of Hughes’ death and can make rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove safety, has looked into whether he had been tar­geted with short balls or “sledged” with un­set­tling com­ments from op­po­nents.

Ques­tions have been raised about whether Hughes was told by one of the bowlers, “I am go­ing to kill you”, but Ab­bott said he did not re­call any such backchat. “I felt the game that day was be­ing played within the laws and spirit of cricket,” he said. Ab­bott said Hughes had been “a bit early through the shot” when he took the de­liv­ery, which made him think that the ball had been trav­el­ling slower than the bats­man had an­tic­i­pated. “I don’t re­mem­ber the ball be­ing fast or slow. Maybe the wicket was a lit­tle bit slower that day. That’s the type of wicket at the SCG,” he said.

Ab­bott, who has not been called to ap­pear at the in­quest, said he had avoided watch­ing the dis­tress­ing video of the in­ci­dent but stressed there would al­ways be risks in the game.

“I know there has been a sug­ges­tion that the laws of the game be changed so that bounc­ers should not be bowled, but the same cricket ball will be hit and fly­ing around whether bounc­ers are bowled or not,” he said. In his state­ment, Aus­tralian vice-cap­tain David Warner said Hughes had been one of his “clos­est mates” and he missed him ev­ery day. But he said he could not think of any way that a sim­i­lar freak ac­ci­dent could be com­pletely avoided. “I don’t think a hel­met could pro­tect where Phil was hit and still al­low a bats­man to move his head prop­erly or face up prop­erly,” he said. The in­quest is due to fin­ish to­mor­row. The coro­ner’s find­ings may come then, but it could take weeks. — AFP

CHIT­TAGONG: Eng­land’s cricket play­ers pose for a group pho­to­graph with the win­ner’s tro­phy for their se­ries against Bangladesh af­ter the third one-day in­ter­na­tional cricket match in Chit­tagong, Bangladesh, yes­ter­day. — AP

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