Inquest into death of batsman Hughes opens in Sydney

Hughes-remembering (File) A tribute to former Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, who was the 408th player for Australia, is displayed on a screen during the first day of the third cricket test match between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval in South Australia, November 27, 2015 | Reuters

A coroner's inquest into the death of Phillip Hughes opened on Monday, almost two years after the Australian cricketer died when he was struck by a ball during a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Hughes was hit on the back of the neck by a rising delivery when batting for South Australia in a domestic match on Nov. 25, 2014. He died two days later in a Sydney hospital.

Over the next week, the New South Wales Coroner's Court will review the circumstances surrounding the incident to determine whether the 25-year-old's death could have been avoided.

The court will consider evidence on "the nature of the play" during the match, the medical and emergency response to Hughes's injury as well as on whether protective equipment might have prevented the blow being fatal.

Evidence from Sean Abbott, the New South Wales cricketer who bowled the fateful delivery, as well as former and current test players Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger and David Warner will be heard.

Cricket Australia has already implemented the recommendations made in a 62-page independent report the body commissioned from a senior lawyer, David Curtain, which was released in May.

The Curtain Report recommended that players be forced to wear helmets when facing fast and medium-paced bowling even if it concluded that such protection would not have prevented the batsman's death.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland joined with the player's former manager James Henderson in requesting that the privacy of Hughes's family be respected during the hearing.

"We never want to see a tragedy like this happen on the cricket field, and to that end we have the utmost respect for the coronial inquest process that we will need to go through this week," Sutherland told reporters outside the court.

"We won't be providing a running commentary dealing with specific issues through the week, but we do hope something good comes from this process."

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