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Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has admitted that “it hasn’t really been easy to concentrate” following the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes.
Hughes passed away at the age of 25 after he was struck on the side of the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales pace bowler Sean Abbott.
“It hasn’t really been easy to concentrate,” Mathews said. “That was the first thing I heard when I woke up last morning, and I had a very tough day going through it. Everyone had a tough day. Even though he’s an Australian, he’s our mate. When you lose a friend of yours, it is very difficult to go through. I hope and pray that we never ever hear of such an incident again in cricket, or any other sport.”
Even though Hughes enjoyed a lot of success against Sri Lanka in Test matches, scoring 435 runs at an average of 43.50, the national team will forever remember him as a “cheerful and friendly person”.
“Phil Hughes was a very humble guy, and a fighter when it came to cricket,” he said. “His loss will be a big one for the game. He played his first ODI against us. If I remember right, he hit a hundred in that match. He was a very good player, and a thorough gentleman. Our whole team conveys our condolences and sadness to his family, loved ones, team-mates, Australian fans, and fans around the world.”
Mathews also noted that Hughes’ death was a tragic accident, especially since the injury he sustained has only been seen approximately 100 times in medical history.
“We never expect something like this to happen when you bowl a bouncer,” Mathews said. “Even when the bowlers are aggressive, you don’t expect the batsman to get hurt. It’s just the game of cricket, and it was an unfortunate incident. There won’t be any thoughts regarding those bouncers. It was an unfortunate incident. All we can do is hope that player safety can improve.”