New South Wales pacer Sean Abbott has recalled how he tried to comfort Phillip Hughes in the moments immediately after the South Australian batsman was fatally injured by his bouncer during the Sheffield Shield match.
Abbott's comments came on the third day of the week-long inquest into the death of Hughes at the NSW Coroner's Court in Sydney.
Hughes was struck on the back of the neck by a bouncer while batting for the West End Redbacks in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25, 2014.
Two days later, Hughes died in the St Vincent's Hospital as a result of a traumatic basal subarachnoid haemorrhage caused by the blow.
While recalling how the South Australian batsman had been through his shot before the ball arrived, Abbott said he felt confused and upset for days after the tragic incident.
"I think Phillip was a bit early through the shot. If a batsman is early through the shot, it makes me think that the ball is slower than they had anticipated. After Phillip was struck, I saw him start to sway and I ran to the other end of the pitch and I held the right side of his head with my left hand," Abbott was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
"I remained on the field until after Phillip was placed on the medicab and then returned to the change room. Once in the change room I felt confused and upset, I had a headache, people kept coming up to me but I cannot remember what they said," he added.
Abbott at the inquest into Hughes' death also said that he does not want to see the laws of cricket change as a result of this most awful of events.
"I know there is a suggestion that the laws of the game be changed so that bouncers should not be bowled, but the same cricket ball will be hit and flying around whether bouncers are bowled or not. There will always be risks in the game," he insisted.
Echoing the words of his teammates Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger and David Warner as well as Hughes' batting partner Tom Cooper, Abbott said that he could not recall any incident of sledging between the players beyond what he called "competitive chat".
If reports for the inquest for Phil Hughes' death are to be believed, it seems to be descending alarmingly into a witch-hunt. (1/2) #Cricket— Eddie Hocknull #27 (@EddieHocknull) October 11, 2016
This inquest of Phil Hughes death is a disgrace. It was just a freak & unfortunate accident. Stay strong Abbott!We are right behind you.— Waѕiyullah Budye (@WasiyullahB) October 12, 2016
Who wins out of this grilling of players involved in Phil Hughes inquest? tragic accident. No need to put more emotional strain on everyone— Ryan Reynolds (@Reynolds_R) October 11, 2016
"I cannot say that backchat is common, however, it is common for bowlers to talk to batsmen in the sense of having a competitive chat. For example, bowlers can let batsmen know that there are no fielders in a particular area and that they should hit the ball there. However, I cannot recall any sledging that day, nor do I recall any complaints being made about sledging," he said.
Earlier,Cooper had quashed the claims that New South Wales paceman Bollinger sledged batsmen with taunt of "I'm going to kill you" during the Sheffield Shield match.
On Monday, Bollinger and Brad Haddin had also denied the claims of sledging raised by Phillip's brother Jason Hughes.
There were reports that Cooper had told Jason of the sledge in the changing room after the incident.
The inquest into Phil Hughes death is disgusting. Asking poor blokes like Bollinger if he killed him is a disgrace. It was a freak accident!— Brendan Goss (@gossy77) October 11, 2016
The character assassination occurring in the Philip Hughes inquest is disgraceful.— Koby Geddes (@kobygeddes) October 10, 2016