Image courtesy of: Fox Sports
England captain Alastair Cook has become the latest cricketer to pay tribute to Australia batsman Phillip Hughes.
Hughes tragically passed away at the age of 25 yesterday after he was hit on the side of the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales pace bowler Sean Abbott.
“I remember talking to him a lot after the Ashes series in 2013,” Cook said. “We had something in common, both being left-handed opening batsman and his love of farming as well – with his cattle.
“It gave us some common ground to talk on and he was one of the guys I would always talk to after a game. Yesterday was a sad day and tragic for cricket and my words can’t convey how sad we all are.
“He would have gone on and been a great Test batsman, there’s no doubt about that. He would have only got better.
“We are part of the cricket family and the world is closer now than ever, with all these different franchises. We all know each other better than ever now.”
However, despite Hughes’ death, Cook believes that the second ODI against Sri Lanka should go ahead as planned.
“Naturally tomorrow it may be different,” he said. “Both sides agreed that, out of respect for Phillip, the game should go ahead, and also show our respects in the right way.
“This is a tragic accident but we shouldn’t change the way that cricket is played. That’s not the right way to go about it. We will go about it in the same way tomorrow.
“Competitive sports needs that balance. We should show our respect at the start and then play the game in his honour.”
Cook also noted that the issue of player safety will become a priority for all cricket boards across the world.
“The manufacturers and authorities should try to make cricket as safe as we can, improve player safety, and there have been major improvements just in the time I’ve been a player. Especially helmets,” he said.
When asked if his mindset while batting will change, Cook said: “It’s a reminder how dangerous it can be. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often. But I won’t change the way I play. It’s a natural thing. You can’t have those doubts in the back of your mind because you won’t play well.”