West Indies cricket great Brian Lara believes the injury to Australian batsman Phillip Hughes will have a significant effect on the psyche of bowlers around the world, but Lara doesn’t believe the bouncer should be eradicated from the game.
After finishing 18 holes at The Australian Open Pro-Am in Sydney on Wednesday morning, Lara passed on his well wishes to Hughes and his family.
Hughes remains fighting for his life in hospital in Sydney.
Lara backed Cricket Australia’s decision to abandon the round of Sheffield Shield in the face of the incident which happened on Tuesday during a Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“No bowler wants to be in that situation. You want to be able to go out there and give your full compliment of deliveries and test the batsman in all sorts of different ways, but that sort of end result is not what you aim for.
“[Sean Abbott, the bowler] will be utterly devastated and not in a very good frame of mind. I think it was a very good decision to abandon the game and everyone can try and recover emotionally and psychologically.”
Lara, who described the incident as “very unfortunate”, believes the ICC have always had the safety of players in the forefront of their decisions.
He admitted cricket was a dangerous sport but said that eradicating the short ball would take away from the essence of the game.
“It’s part of the game and they’ve done their best over the years to curb it and manage it as much as possible. It’s part of the armoury of a fast bowler and it’s very hard to take that totally away from him. There are some batsmen who feed off that sort of attack and I don’t believe it’s something that should affect the fast bowlers and the rules governing that.
“It’s a sport and you’re always going to have that element of risk. This is an unfortunate and rare situation. I suppose the authorities will be a little bit worried about something like this, how it happened and if it will ever happen again. I felt pretty safe playing. I knew the element of risk. A little prayer in the morning and hope for the best. I’ve been struck down a couple of times – Shoaib Akhtar and Glenn McGrath but fortunately for me it hasn’t been at this level.”
Former West Indian cricket Phil Simmons was struck in the head during a match for Gloucestershire in 1988 and required life-saving surgery.
Lara said he was hopeful Hughes would make a similar comeback.
“It was a similar thing,” Lara said.
I know that the whole of Australia and the whole of the cricketing world are hoping the best comes out of this and pray he comes back to full health.”