Sean Abbott, the Australian fast bowler who delivered the short ball that killed Phillip Hughes last month, has made a remarkable return to cricket, helping New South Wales beat Queensland on Friday.
The 22-year-old Abbott has been receiving counselling after he bowled the bouncer that struck Hughes on the neck last month.
Hughes died in a Sydney hospital two days later, triggering a massive outpouring of grief in Australia, and devastating Abbott, a former team mate and friend of Hughes. There had been fears he would be too traumatised to return to cricket.
Abbott attended his funeral and was consoled by Hughes’ family and other cricketers, who urged him to resume playing.
Still stricken by grief, he made his return this week at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the same venue where Hughes was fatally injured.
After a slow start in, which he took two wickets in Queensland’s first innings, Abbott hit his stride on Friday, showing why he is regarded as one of Australia’s rising talents.
With the match seemingly heading to a draw, Abbott produced an extraordinary spell to capture 6-14 as Queensland collapsed to 99 all out in their second innings and NSW wrapped up victory.
New South Wales coach Trevor Bayliss told ABC radio: “To do what he did today really showed the character that he has got.” – Reuters