The inquest into the tragic death of former Australian batsman Phillip Hughes has revealed that no one is to blame with the coroner's report saying that it was not the fault of the bowler or the rules of the sport, but was a tragic accident caused by a "miniscule misjudgment" on the part of the batsman.
The 25-year-old former Test batsman lost his life after he was struck by a bouncer from New South Wales pacer Sean Abbott on 25 November, 2014 in a Sheffield Shield match. As Hughes, playing for South Australia, attempted to hook the ball, he was struck on the left side of his neck which caused him to collapse. The left-hander never regained consciousness and died two days later to the shock of the cricketing world.
New South Wales coroner Michael Barnes concluded that Hughes' death was not caused by sledging by the opposing team or by any deficiency in Hughes helmet. He revealed that there had been no malicious intent from New South Wales seamer Sean Abbott who bowled the fatal delivery.
"Of the 23 bouncers bowled that day, 20 were bowled to him. Philip was comfortably dealing with short pitch balls. I conclude they did not contribute to his death. Hughes was dealt with a fatal ball with a high bounce. He could have ducked but such was his competitiveness he wanted to make runs from it. A miniscule misjudgment or slight error of execution caused him to miss the ball which crashed into his neck with fatal consequences", Barnes said, as quoted by the Telegraph.
Barnes made a plea for players to stop sledging or insulting opponents calling it an "unsavoury practice" which is at odds with the honourable traditions of the game. He added that no modern protective equipment could have saved the batsman's life.
Hughes' family reportedly walked out of the inquest with his father Greg Hughes claiming that ungentlemanly sledging and the failure of the umpire to crack down on short-pitched deliveries were the main reasons for the death of their son.