Image courtesy of: cricbuzz.com
New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson has revealed that “everybody in the team” has been affected by the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes.
Hughes passed away at the age of 25 after being hit on the side of the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales pace bowler Sean Abbott.
“I think everybody was hit in different ways,” Hesson said. “Everybody in the team is affected, some very deeply affected and today wasn’t about cricket, today was about supporting one of our fellow players.
“The players were really struggling and there is no doubt about that. I think the key for us was to help the individuals in the group who were struggling more than the others and get through the day.”
Hesson also admitted that there were discussions about whether the ongoing Test match against Pakistan should go on or be cancelled.
“There was a lot of discussion taking place regarding the Test match continuing,” he said. “This morning the Test match continued and we knew that so we turned up and we were aware of that and we worked on helping each other get through the day.”
Out of respect for Hughes, Hesson told his bowlers not to bowl any bouncers and instructed the fielders not to field in any position that was extremely close to the batsmen.
“We didn’t have anyone under the close field and under a helmet and didn’t bowl any bouncer and that was to show respect,” he said.
While Hesson praised spinner Mark Craig for taking a career-best seven wickets and captain Brendon McCullum for smashing an unbeaten 153, he made it clear that everyone’s mind was focussed on the death of Hughes.
“We weren’t conscious of the performance, we were just looking after each other,” he said. “The game was irrelevant at that stage, that was just a natural reaction (not celebrating) by a group of people whose mind was elsewhere.
“I think Mark drifted the ball and certainly created lots of curves and got rewards. Brendon can play like that and he was going through a range of emotions today but that certainly showed the character of the man to play the way he did.”