Irfan Pathan fears the Australian pacer may quit the game following Phillip Hughes' accident
Although Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland is impressed with the way Sean Abbott is holding up following his fatal bouncer to Phillip Hughes during a domestic Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, India all-rounder Irfan Pathan fears that the Australian medium-pacer might never play cricket again.
Irfan Pathan at Chowpatty during a promotional event on Saturday. Pic/Suresh KK
Ever since Hughes, only 25, passed away on Thursday, the cricketing fraternity has rallied behind Abbott.
Test of character
"There are very high chances that he (Abbott) may never like to play again. You have to be mentally very strong to make a comeback after such an accident. This will be a real test of his character. It was a rare incident in cricket and to come out of it won't be easy for him," Pathan told Sunday mid-day on the sidelines of a promotional event on Saturday.
Pathan, who is currently pushing for an India comeback, recalled an incident when his bouncer hit Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen on the helmet during an ODI in Brisbane, 2004. A top edge resulted in the ball sneaking in between the grill and visor of Vermeulen's helmet, fracturing his skull.
"After seeing the Hughes incident, I just couldn't stop recalling my bouncer to Vermeulen. I was shivering after that incident. I was wishing his eyes do not get damaged. I was in touch with a friend in Zimbabwe asking about his recovery. It took me sometime to get over that incident.
'Abbott would be gutted'
"I know what Abbott would be going through. What happened with him was rare. So even if it takes some more time for Abbott (to get over the guilt), let him take it. He has to realise it wasn't his fault. My heart goes out to him. He would be gutted at the moment," said Pathan.
In the wake of Hughes' death, it was decided on Saturday to postpone the first Test match between Australia and India at Brisbane from December 4 to an unspecified date. Pathan supported the decision. "It is a right decision.
I saw Michael Clarke's reaction. It is good that they have decided to postpone the first Test. Players, especially the Australians, need to be in a right frame of mind to play it. There is no point pushing the players to play," he signed off.