Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2014 Contents A56
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 24, 2014
It s Christmas Day tomorrow. December
25. One month to the day since Phillip Hugh-
es was struck by a bouncer at the SCG. Crick-
et has continued, life has gone on for his
team-mates. Bouncers are bowled, hook
shots are played. There is a guise of normal-
ity. But the emotions are never far from the
surface. The shock has eased, will lessen fur-
ther. It will never go away. For now, the pain
of his death is still raw.
When Shane Watson was hit by a bouncer
in the MCG nets on Tuesday, the collective
reaction said it all. Watson and the bowler
James Pattinson were both visibly shaken.
They left the nets soon after. Watson was not
really hurt. But he was very rattled. Watson
was one of the New South Wales players who
was first on the scene when Hughes was felled
in the Sheffield Shield game.
When the first bouncer was bowled by
Varun Aaron in the Adelaide Test, it felt like
a milestone moment. Cricket could carry on.
Fast bowlers from both teams went on bowling
bumpers throughout the first two Tests. Short
balls were ducked, hooked, fended, took wick-
ets. But there have been flashbacks to the
As much as the players want to play their
normal way, it is always there, that little doubt.
Mitchell Johnson was fearsome in the home
Ashes last summer. England's batsmen were,
at times, obviously frightened of him. But
after Hughes' death, Johnson initially had
trouble convincing himself to bowl bouncers
again. Especially to his team-mates.
"I had been [reluctant] in training," Johnson
said on Tuesday. "I definitely wasn't too keen
on bowling it in training. But I've been able
to move on from that and play the way I want-
ed to play. I've bowled a couple [at training,
Johnson's comments came before Watson
was struck by Pattinson. It is little wonder
Pattinson was shaken by the experience in
the nets; Johnson too had been visibly worried
when his bouncer hit Virat Kohli on the helmet
during the Adelaide Test. Johnson was the
first to check on Kohli's well-being; most of
his team-mates were quickly on the scene as
well. Emotions ran high.
"I did hear somewhere that we all over-
reacted and carried on," Johnson said. "But
that was just a normal reaction. That was just
how I felt. It was just an emotional sort of
feeling. It was the first time that I'd struck
someone in the helmet [since Hughes died]
and that was just a normal reaction by me.
"I was able to move on from that ---not
straight away. But as the Test series has gone
on we've seen that aggression come back into
the game and that's what works best for me,
bowling aggressive and getting up their guys."
It is not just batsmen and bowlers who have
had the death of Hughes in the back of their
minds. Chris Rogers was clearly unsettled by
an incident on the first day at the Gabba,
when he was fielding at short leg while Nathan
Lyon was bowling. Rohit Sharma pulled, Rogers
spun around to protect himself and was hit
in the back of the helmet.
The 20-year-old Marnus Labuschagne field-
ed at short leg for most of the rest of the
match, on as a substitute for the injured
Mitchell Marsh. Labuschagne is a short-leg
specialist. Asked at the MCG on Tuesday
whether he would expect to field in close again
or might encourage the debutant Joe Burns
to take the job, Rogers was initially a little
"I'll be pushing for the young fellow to get
in there," Rogers said. "As you saw from my
technique I'm probably not the bravest in
there. But it's one of those necessary rules.
You have to get in there but preferably I don't
want to be in there if I don't have to."
When it happened, nothing could hide the
fact that Rogers was genuinely rattled. The
team doctor Peter Brukner ran on to the field
to check on Rogers, who kept turning his back
on the doctor, unwilling to look him in the
It was as if Rogers thought denial was his
best mental defence, pretending it hadn't hap-
pened, pretending he wasn't in fear of his life,
pretending that he wasn't flashing back to his
former Test team-mate Hughes. But such
thoughts were precisely what went through
Rogers' mind. He was, in a word, upset.
"You get hit in the head and with everything
that has happened recently it's probably two
inches from where Phil got hit," Rogers said.
"A lot of things go through your mind. At 37
fielding at short leg you're thinking what the
hell am I doing here?'
"It was interesting times. The team asks
you to get in there so you do. And then when
you take a knock like that it's a little bit con-
fronting. I was a little bit upset at the time
and didn't really want to speak to anyone, as
you might have seen."
Of course, anyone would be upset in a sim-
ilar situation. Pattinson was in the nets on
Tuesday. Watson was shaken. Johnson's raw
emotions kicked in when he struck Kohli.
Every such blow now has the "what-if" factor
about it. What if it was two inches that way?
What if he turned his head in the other direc-
Training continued in the nets after Watson
was hit. The cricket will continue on Boxing
Day. Australia are 2-0 up over India. They
have come together bravely over the past
month, carried on as normally as they could.
But, naturally, Australian cricket remains in
a state of latent shock. For this group of Hugh-
es' friends and team-mates, the what-ifs will
never really go away.
spinners Saeed Ajmal and
Mohammad Hafeez will fly out
to India later this week to have
unofficial tests on their illegal
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman
Shaharyar Khan says both players
have opted to go to the ICC-
accredited biomechanics laboratory
in Chennai within the next two
If Ajmal and Hafeez get
favourable results, Khan says the
PCB will then ask the International
Cricket Council to conduct official
tests on their bowling actions.
Ajmal was suspended in Sep-
tember while Hafeez was banned
from bowling in international
cricket earlier this month after his
action was found to be illegal dur-
ing the first test against New
Zealand. Khan hopes both players
can still make Pakistan's squad for
the 2015 World Cup, starting Feb-
SYDNEY---The bodysuit worn
by Australian sprinter Cathy Free-
man when she lit the flame at the
opening of the 2000 Sydney
Olympics may have been recov-
ered 14 years after it disappeared
from her dressing room.
Melbourne police said Tuesday
they had taken possession of an
item which might be the missing
bodysuit. It was handed to police
by a staff member of the Mel-
bourne Cricket Club who received
it anonymously and has been sent
for forensic testing to determine
Freeman removed the suit after
the opening ceremony and left it
in her dressing room from which
it disappeared, creating one of the
mysteries of Australian Olympic
The Australian Olympic Com-
mittee said it is "hoping the item
of clothing handed to the MCC
Museum is authentic and the mys-
tery is finally solved."
Teammates surround an injured Phil Hughes after he was struck on the head one month ago. Hughes subsequently died. AP PHOTO.
A month of reflection and flashbacks
Mystery of Aussie sprinter's
missing bodysuit likely solved
Ajmal, Hafeez to be tested in Chennai
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