Abbott 'confused' after Hughes strike
Photo Source: AAP
Bowler Sean Abbott has for the first time described the day Phillip Hughes was fatally struck by a cricket ball, saying he felt dazed after holding the batsman's head as he lay dying.
In a written statement to the inquest into Hughes' death, Abbott said the Sheffield Shield match in November, 2014 seemed normal until the last of his nine consecutive short balls hit the South Australian batsman in the side of the neck.
Hughes began to sway after being hit.
"I ran to the other end of the pitch and I held the right side of his head with my left hand," Abbott, who made his Twenty20 international debut with Hughes, said in the statement signed in September.
"Once in the change room I felt confused and upset, I had a headache."
The inquest has heard the Hughes family was concerned the 25-year-old was subjected to ungentlemanly bowling and sledging before he was hit.
The batsman's friend and former Tasmanian batsman, Matthew Day, said NSW paceman Doug Bollinger told him he'd said "I am going to kill you" on the playing field at the SCG before Hughes was fatally struck.
Cricketers have testified they can't recall Bollinger making the sledge, which Hughes' family felt may have been directed at him or his batting partner Tom Cooper.
Six or seven cricketers were around when Bollinger divulged the comment at an event after Hughes died, Day said in a written statement dated on Tuesday.
"I can't believe I said that," Day recalled Bollinger saying.
"I've said things like that in the past but I am never going to say that again."
Counsel assisting Kristina Stern SC on Wednesday said there's no evidence a comment played a role in the injury and that Day would not be required to give evidence in person.
She said it would be unnecessary for State Coroner Michael Barnes to make a finding on the matter.
Abbott said he does not remember sledging on the day and that he was in "a bit of a daze" after Hughes was hit.
"It was all a bit of a blur," he said.
"These feelings stayed with me for the next few days."
Abbott had been expected to give oral evidence but a NSW Coroner's Court spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed he would not be called.
He said he felt the match was being played "within the laws of the spirit of cricket" and that he now wears a StemGuard on his helmet to protect the back of his head and neck.
Rules shouldn't be changed to stop bouncers being bowled, he said.
"The same cricket ball will be hit and flying around whether bouncers are bowled or not," he said.
"There will always be risks to the game."
The inquest heard staff from Cricket NSW and the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust didn't know who specifically was responsible for calling an ambulance on the day Hughes was hit.
The trust's Scott Henderson, who was the first person to call triple zero, was in a building next to nearby Allianz Stadium when the incident occurred.
The inquest has previously heard the triple zero operator logged that it was not known if Hughes had serious bleeding or was responsive.
Mr Henderson said he hadn't received training on what information needed to be provided to emergency services before the incident.
Policies have since been improved, he said.
The inquest is expected to continue on Thursday.