November 25 2014 was cricket’s saddest day. That was the day Phillip Hughes was struck in the neck by a ball and sadly later died in hospital a day or two later. So why then are we bringing it all back up now in an inquest and forcing all the key players to re-live every single moment of that day from hell?
Hughes’ death, while unbelievably tragic was an accident. We all take risks every day, driving a car, catching a plane, crossing the road. Unfortunately everyone cannot be protected from every little thing in life. That is what makes life, well life. Freak accidents happen and sometimes there is no logical explanation as to why. That is why they are called freak. It is for this reason that there is absolutely no point in interrogating the players who were out there in those fatal moments. By all means the doctors, the equipment and the response on the day should all be aspects that are reviewed and analysed thoroughly to determine if things could have been handled better, but to bring the players into it is absolutely wrong.
We’ve heard Doug Bollinger grilled over alleged comments he made. “I’m going to kill you” or words to that effect were attributed to him before that fatal ball was bowled. Brad Haddin was also questioned as to the tactics he employed as captain of New South Wales that day and whether Hughes was targeted by a raft of short balls. These are both events that Bollinger and Haddin have denied. The reality of it though, is that even if both these incidents did occur, they are tactics that would be utilised often on the cricket pitch. Neither Haddin, nor Bollinger could have predicted what was to happen next. To question them otherwise is ludicrous. It is up to the umpires to police the game and take control if they feel something is astray.
Day two saw Hughes’ good mate and New South Wales batsman David Warner called to the stand. He too was asked about tactics and whether his side “targeted (Hughes) in an ungentlemanly way”. Again though, this is sport. Nobody goes out there to end the life of someone, they go out to win. Any suggestion to the contrary is quite frankly offensive to all involved. This is not a murder trial, but it sure feels like one with the way it is being treated.
Hughes batting partner Tom Cooper also gave evidence on day two and backed up most of the points of the players who had spoken before him. This reportedly reduced Cooper to tears, which was completely unnecessary two years after the event. Thank goodness that Sean Abbott, the man who innocently bowled the ball to Hughes has not had to appear at the inquest in person. He made a statement which is where it should have started and ended with every player who was out there that day.
Cricket is a game. A national game. We saw the response of the Australian public who put out their bats in support of Phil Hughes in the days after the tragic event. Cricket means a lot to this nation and having an inquest that is attempting to turn Australian cricketers on each other and the game is the only ‘ungentlemanly’ act going on here. Leave it alone.