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Hughes family braces for difficult week

Cricket

Phillip Hughes’ former manager James Henderson and Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland say they hope that something positive comes from this week’s inquest into the death of the former batsman.

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The South Australian opener died on November 27, 2014, two days after he was felled by a bouncer from NSW bowler Sean Abbott in a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG.

“This is going to be a very, very difficult week for (the Hughes family) Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan,” Henderson said outside the court.

“They haven’t been looking forward to this week as you would imagine, but they are hoping that perhaps there will be a positive outcome out of Phil’s death as we go through this next five days inside the coroners court.”

Sutherland spoke similarly.

“We do hope something good comes from this process,” he said.

“It’s an emotionally challenging time for those involved, and I guess our role right now is to support them, so that they can assist the coroner as he works through the process and presents findings later on.”

Sutherland said his thoughts were with the Hughes family and also with his cricketing friends, and team mates, some of whom are expected to give evidence this week.

“Many have had to deal with the trauma of not only losing a mate but also (being) out on the ground at the time of the accident,” Sutherland said.

“We never want to see a tragedy like this happen on the cricket field, and to that end we have the utmost respect for the coronial inquest and the process we all need to go through this week.”

Opening the five-day inquest in Sydney today, State Coroner Michael Barnes offered his condolences to the cricketer’s family, who are attending at the Downing Centre.

“To his family … he was much more than a fabulous cricketer,” he said.

“Phillip Hughes was before anything else, a son and a brother.”

He will examine whether the nature of play exacerbated the risk of injury, whether the response was appropriate and if a different protective helmet would have reduced the likelihood of death among other topics.

This morning the inquest has been played disturbing footage of the moment Hughes was felled, showing him placing his hands on his knees before reeling forward without any attempt to break his fall.

Family members left the courtroom just before the footage was shown.

Counsel assisting the coroner Kristina Stern SC says there had been some concerns NSW bowlers may have been targeting Hughes with short balls.

She said numerous cricketers, including David Warner and Brad Haddin, had given statements to the inquest about their team’s strategy.

“As far as many players could remember Hughes was not being unfairly targeted by bouncers and the umpire did not issue any warning about bowlers contravening the limit for short balls per over,” she said.

AAP

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