Warner walks off field af­ter Phil Hughes taunt

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

EX­ILED bats­man David Warner walked off the field mid-in­nings yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing sledged over the death of crick­eter Phil Hughes. It is un­der­stood the team be­lieves the com­ments, which in­cluded call­ing him “a dis­grace” and “weak”, came from Hughes’s brother, Ja­son, who was field­ing dur­ing a Syd­ney grade cricket match. One wit­ness claimed to have heard a di­rect ref­er­ence to Phil Hughes’ 2014 death. But it is un­der­stood Warner may not have heard the ex­act words. Ja­son Hughes last night de­clined to com­ment. Friends of Warner said there was a vibe of ha­tred to­wards him dur­ing the match, and Warner was dis­tressed at be­ing ver­bally at­tacked. He left the field to defuse the sit­u­a­tion. Al­though the ex­change was not heated, Warner was “con­sider- ably hurt” and left the field, telling the um­pires he was “re­mov­ing him­self from the game”.

Play halted for three min­utes while Warner stayed in the dress­ing room and was con­soled by Rand­wick-Peter­sham first-grade man­ager Bill An­der­son.

An­der­son said Warner, who was 35 not out while bat­ting for Rand­wick-Peter­sham against Western Sub­urbs, was vis­i­bly dis­tressed.

“He was very dis­ap­pointed and hurt that some­thing had been said to him that he took great of­fence at,” An­der­son said.

“He felt what had been said was very of­fen­sive to him but he re­alised that he had to play. He turned around and back out he went.

“He wasn’t teary. But you could tell he had been quite af­fected by that. It wasn’t a heated ex­change. It was some­thing said in close range.”

On No­vem­ber 25, 2014, Warner was field­ing when Phil Hughes was hit by a bouncer bowled by Sean Ab­bott dur­ing a Sh­effield Shield match at the SCG. Hughes, 25, from Macksville, later died from his in­juries.

At the in­quest, Warner said he did not hear sledg­ing dur­ing the match. The NSW coro­ner didn’t make a for­mal rec­om­men­da­tion re­gard­ing sledg­ing but pon­dered “why such a beau­ti­ful game would need such an ugly un­der­side”.

An­der­son said Warner, the for­mer Aus­tralian vice-cap­tain, had not con­fided in him about what had left him so rat­tled yes­ter­day.

Warner was al­lowed by the um­pires to re­turn to the field de­spite the gen­eral rule that if a player leaves he can­not re­turn.

Warner and ex-Aus­tralian skip­per Steve Smith are serv­ing a 12month sus­pen­sion from first-class cricket over ball-tam­per­ing in South Africa in March.

David Warner walks from the field af­ter al­legedly be­ing sledged by Ja­son Hughes (be­low, left). In­set: Warner with his wife, Candice.

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