Tribute to tragic Hughes from Tykes coach

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Yorkshire’s first team coach Jason Gillespie has paid tribute to Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes who sadly passed away on Thursday aged 25.

Gillespie, a former Test player with Australia, coached Hughes on an Australia A tour to Zimbabwe in 2011 and he remembers fondly the gritty top-order batsman and his influence in the dressing room.

“I had the privilege of coaching Phil on a Australia A tour a few years back,” Gillespie told Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s official website.

“You could see back then that he had the ideal temperament and skill set to be a top player in the game. Since then, he made it into the national squad and continued to excel as a fine cricketer.

“It’s truly heart-breaking what has happened and it is still hard to understand how his friends and family are coming to terms with his sad loss.

“You have to understand that a lot of the lads that he played with, when the incident happened in Sydney earlier this week, have grown up playing cricket together and it will be a tough time for them. From over here in the UK it is very hard to comprehend how they’re feeling.

“It is a horrific circumstance and this shouldn’t happen in sport – it’s an absolute tragedy.

“But I don’t think now is the time to start talking about rule changes and safety equipment. There will be a time to discuss those issues, but now is a time to grieve and pay respects.”

Gillespie, who played 71 Test Matches for Australia and steered Yorkshire to Championship success last season, feels the cricket family need to come together for young Australian bowler Sean Abbott after Hughes’ tragic death.

Abbott delivered the ball that hit Hughes on the head and left the batsman in a critical condition for two days before he passed away.

“We are all really feeling for Abbott right now,” he said.