Phillip Hughes death: Australia's Sean Abbott 'holding up well'

Sean Abbott
Sean Abbott leaves St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney on Thursday

Sean Abbott is "holding up well" as he comes to terms with the death of Phillip Hughes, says Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

Hughes died on Thursday after being hit on the neck by a delivery from Abbott during a domestic match in Australia.

"I chatted to him on Thursday night and I was incredibly impressed by the way he was holding himself and his maturity," said Sutherland.

Some ex-cricketers fear Abbott, 22, may never play again following the tragedy.

"This isn't a moment in time thing, it's a grieving process that affects people in different ways," added Sutherland in a news conference on Friday morning in Sydney.

Sydney Morning Herald
Friday's Sydney Morning Herald pays tribute to Phillip Hughes

"We, and the relevant experts, will provide Sean with all of the support that he needs."

A tearful Abbott visited Hughes at St Vincent's Hospital before he died and was comforted by the batsman's sister, Megan, and Australia captain Michael Clarke.

The New South Wales bowler is also receiving counselling from Cricket Australia.

But former England bowler David Lawrence, who hit West Indies batsman Phil Simmons on the temple with a delivery in 1988, thinks Abbott's career could be over.

"I know what Sean is going through," Lawrence told BBC Radio 5 live.

"My thoughts go out to him. I don't think he'll play cricket again."

Hughes, who played 26 Tests for his country, collapsed face first on the ground after being struck by a bouncer from Abbott during a Sheffield Shield game between South Australia and New South Wales on Tuesday.

Hughes, 25, had been wearing a helmet but the ball missed it, striking him at the top of the neck and causing a vertebral artery dissection, which resulted in a "massive bleed" on the brain.

  • Phillip Hughes, batting for South Australia, was hit in the neck by a short-pitched ball on Tuesday. He never regained consciousness.
  • Australian team doctor Peter Brukner explained Hughes died as a result of "vertebral artery dissection".
  • His family paid tribute to a "much-loved son and brother".
  • Cricket Australia "completely devastated" at the "freak accident".
  • Emotional Australia captain Michael Clarke stayed with Hughes's family at his bedside for two days.
  • Flags were flown at half-mast at Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground.
  • No decision yet whether to play next week's Test match against India, but warm-up match cancelled.
  • Australia rugby union team say they will wear black armbands against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
  • Australian golfer Adam Scott wore a black ribbon during Australian Open.
  • Prime Minister Tony Abbott described Hughes' death as a "shocking aberration".
  • Review how the world reacted to Hughes's death here.

Abbott was pictured in the aftermath of the incident cradling Hughes, while other players waved medical staff on to the pitch.

Retired fast bowler Lawrence is concerned that Abbott may never get over the tragic event.

"When you turn and run in to bowl again, you are just going to have those images in your head," Lawrence told BBC Radio 5 live. "Will he ever be the same bowler again? I don't know."

Lawrence was just 24 when he struck Simmons, who was not wearing a helmet, with a delivery in a tour match in Bristol 26 years ago.

Adam Gilchrist tweet
Former Australian cricket captain Adam Gilchrist tweets about Sean Abbott

The batsman's heart stopped and he required emergency brain surgery, but he went on to make a full recovery.

"What gave me comfort was I was able to see Phil 48 hours after and he was able to tell me it wasn't my fault," Lawrence added.

"The bowler in this instance wouldn't have been able to do that. Hughes didn't make a recovery, wasn't able to talk to him."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 live that Abbott "was only doing his job".

He added: "It will take along time to heal. I just hope we get him back on the cricket pitch."

Ex-England all-rounder Ian Botham tweeted: "A very sad day for the world of cricket. So sorry for Phillip Hughes and his family. Spare a thought for Sean Abbott."

Shane Warne also called for the cricket world to support Abbott.

Phillip Hughes family
The "devastated" family of Phillip Hughes at St Vincent's Hospital in Australia

"It's important for friends and the cricket community to get round Sean," the Australian legend told Sky Sports News. "I'm sure he'll be distraught, but it's not his fault. Hopefully he'll be OK and can bounce back."

Matthew Hoggard, another former England paceman, told BBC Sport that the bouncer is part of a fast bowler's "armoury" and Abbott would not have been attempting to injure Hughes.

"You bowl it to be intimidating, but you don't bowl it to try and hurt people," said Hoggard.

"To bowl a ball that has resulted in somebody dying has got to be absolutely devastating. Hopefully he can get the support around him and find the strength to carry on.

"I'm sure Phil would have wanted it because it was a tragic accident."

Simon Hughes, BBC Sport's cricket analyst and former Middlesex bowler, fears Abbott will "need a lot of counselling" and a break from the game.

"I've hit people before, obviously not with those terminal circumstances," Hughes said. "It's a terrible feeling when you injure anyone in sport, even though you are trying to intimidate them.

"I don't know how he's going to cope with it because it never happened before, certainly in professional cricket, where a bouncer has actually effectively killed a batsman. He's going to need a lot of counselling."

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The Analyst Simon Hughes on cricket safety

Former Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait, who roomed with Phillip Hughes on international duty, told BBC World that bouncers are "part of the game" and warned against any kneejerk reactions.

He added: "There is no blame being thrown at anyone. It's a freak accident.

"Whether they change the rules or whether they design new helmets, I don't know. That might happen. That's up to the powers-that-be. It's their decision, but the game rolls on. I think Phil would like the game to roll on."

Ex-Australia bowler Jason Gillespie told BBC Radio 5 live: "We're all feeling for Sean Abbott, who was just out there doing his job. They were very good mates and he was the first one there when Phillip fell down.

"He's 22 years old and he's got the cricket world in front of him and who knows how he's going to go on from here? The one thing he will have in place is absolute support from the cricket community."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it was important for people to "remember Sean Abbott", adding the New South Wales bowler would be "absolutely devastated at this tragic accident".

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