Pakistan pace legend fears for NSW fast bowler's future after Phil Hughes' death
London: Pakistan great Waqar Younis questioned whether Sean Abbott would continue in cricket after delivering the ball that led to the death yesterday of Australian Phillip Hughes.
View Photos: Gone too soon: Cricketers who died at a young age
The cricket world was united in grief after it was announced that Hughes, due to celebrate his 26th birthday this weekend, had died having failed to regain consciousness after being hit on the base of his skull trying to hook a bouncer from Abbott while batting for South Australia against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
"How will he (Abbott) continue?," Waqar, one of the outstanding fast bowlers of his generation and now Pakistan's coach, told AFP. "He needs counselling, which I am sure must have started, and needs to stay calm," he added. But former England fast bowler David Lawrence said he feared Abbott may never player cricket again as a result of the tragedy.
View Photos: Aus cricketers mourn Philip Hughes' death
Sean Abbott (right) leaves Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital with a friend yesterday. Pic/AFP
Lawrence is well-placed to understand Abbott's situation having, as a 24-year-old Gloucestershire paceman, bowled the ball that hit West Indies' batsman Phil Simmons — who wasn't wearing a helmet — on the head in a tour match at Bristol, south-west England.
Simmons went on to make a full recovery but only after his heart stopped and undergoing emergency brain surgery. Lawrence said the fact he could talk to Simmons was a huge help and he wondered how Abbott would be able to continue bowling in the absence of such consolation. "What gave me comfort was I was able to see Phil Simmons 48 hours after, and he was able to tell me it wasn't my fault," recalled the now 50-year-old Lawrence.
"Hughes didn't make a recovery, he (Abbott) wasn't able to talk to him. So my thoughts go out to him as well — because whether he will come back from this or not, personally I don't think he'll play cricket again," added Lawrence, whose Test career was cut short by an horrific knee injury he suffered while running in to bowl against New Zealand at Wellington in 1992.
Former England paceman Alan Mullally, who hit a batsman on his head during a club game in Perth, recalled his trauma to The West Australian. "I had sleepless night for months after that. I would wake up crying. I was devastated at first because I didn't know if he was going to live and then I was devastated because I did know that I had ended his career."