Australian skipper Michael Clarke has offered his full support to distraught bowler Sean Abbott, whose unfortunate bouncer led to the tragic death of young
batsman Phillip Hughes.
The 22-year-old Abbott has been undergoing counselling ever since the accident took place during a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
Clarke said no one blames Abbott for the unfortunate incident and the entire Australian team stands behind him and will support him in returning to the sport.
"I would like to say some words about Sean Abbott. This is a tremendous young man with a bright future whose life has changed forever by this accident. And that's what it is — a freak accident," Clarke said.
"No-one — not one single person — blames him in any way for what has happened. He deserves our full support, he will absolutely have mine whenever he needs it, and I know that also goes for the entire Australian cricket community.
"Sean, when you feel like getting back on the horse mate, I promise you that I will be the first to strap on the pads and go stand up the end of the net to hit them back at you. It's exactly what Hugh Dog would want us both to do," Clarke was quoted as saying in Herald Sun.
Clarke, who was a close friend of Hughes, also paid glowing tribute to the young Australian and thanked his country men for their support during this crisis.
"I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Australian public for the wonderful words of support that Phillip's family and team mates have received over the last several days. It's really brought home to me what I guess I have always known- that all of us who love this game are a family — a big, wide, culturally diverse, passionate family," he said.
"Nothing can temper the pain and devastation that the Hughes family are now experiencing. But I know that they have taken comfort in the extraordinary outpouring of prayers, tributes and deeds that have filtered down to them from all parts of the world," Clarke said.
"I also would like to pay tribute to all those people of who touched Phillip's life and helped him on his cricketing journey in some way. From his junior team mates, to the coaches up on the north coast who noticed and nurtured his prodigious talent, to the umpires who would have tired of signalling his endless 4's through point.
"They are all part of the wonderful cricket family, and I am sure they are grieving Phillip's passing deeply. "The best qualities of Australians have come to the fore this week and I personally have been deeply moved," he added.
Image: Sean Abbott walking out of St Vincent's hospital where Phil Hughes breathed his last.
Photo: Joosep Martinson/Getty Images