Phil Hughes: Australia players to be given counselling after injury

Australia batsman Phil Hughes
Hughes has a Test average of 32 from his 26 Tests between 2009-2013

Players who saw batsman Phil Hughes collapse on the pitch after being hit on the head will be given counselling.

Hughes was left in a critical condition after being struck by a bouncer from New South Wales fast bowler Sean Abbott while playing for South Australia.

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association will work together to arrange support.

CA chief James Sutherland said every player involved in the game in Sydney would get the "utmost support".

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"There are very few sports that don't carry any element of risk. A bouncer is a legitimate delivery and remains a crucial part of a bowler's armoury. Removing it entirely would be like asking a boxer not to use the jab."
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ACA chief executive Alastair Nicholson added: "We were obviously shocked to learn of the seriousness of the incident involving Phil.

"While we have faith that he's receiving the best available treatment, the situation will impact his family, friends and those directly involved on the field. The ACA is therefore working closely with CA to arrange the appropriate counselling for those affected."

Hughes, 25, collapsed after a delivery from Abbott struck him on the head, missing his helmet.

The left-handed batsman was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital, where he was put in an induced coma following surgery

Australian media reported that Hughes stopped breathing at one point and needed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the side of the pitch.

The Sheffield Shield match was eventually abandoned.

CA, who said Hughes had been "struck on the back, lower left side of the head", added that no blame could be attached to Abbott, a 22-year-old who made his Australia debut last month.

Players surround Hughes on the pitch in Sydney
Players and officials rushed to help Hughes as he fell to the ground

Australia batsman David Warner was fielding for New South Wales when the incident occurred and was alongside Hughes when he was taken off the field of play.

He wrote on Twitter: "Thoughts are with my little mate Hughesy and his family. He is a fighter and a champion and he will get through this. Praying for you buddy."

Other cricketers, past and present, added their support for Hughes.

Legendary Australia spinner Shane Warne wrote on Twitter:external-link "Hang in there buddy, we are all fighting with you."

Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee told reporters that Hughes is "a terrific guy", adding: "He's got his whole career ahead of him and deserves the best."

Alastair Cook in 'shock' over Hughes injury

A number of England players also spoke out in support of Hughes.

England bowler James Anderson said it was "sickening" to learn what had happened, while international team-mate Stuart Broad urged Hughes to "fight hard", adding: "Everyone's thoughts are with you and your family."

Ex-England spinner Graeme Swann described Hughes as "a cracking bloke" and said he had "everything crossed for a full and speedy recovery".

The rest of the cricketing world also registered their concern.

India batsman Virat Kohli called Hughes "a top man", while South Africa one-day captain AB de Villiers said he was "hoping for a speedy recovery" for Hughes.

There was also sympathy for pace bowler Abbott, with ex-Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist urging him to "stay strong".

Former Australia bowler Glenn McGrath also tweeted support for Abbott.

Hughes is well known in England, not just for his appearances for Australia but because of stints with Middlesex and Worcestershire.

Ambulance on the pitch at Sydney cricket ground (25 Nov 2014)
Hughes was carried off the ground on a stretcher

"All our thoughts and prayers are with Phillip," added England captain Alastair Cook, who is in Sri Lanka for a one-day series.

"We have guys who played with him from Worcester, Middlesex, and quite a few of us have played against him. It's a sad incident and I hope he can show the same fight he's shown his whole career."

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