Cricket Australia will commission an independent review into the death of batsman Phillip Hughes in an attempt to prevent such on-field accidents from occurring in the future.
Hughes died on Nov 27, two days after being struck in the neck by a ball from a short-pitched delivery while representing South Australia in an interstate Sheffield Shield first-class match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“When this tragedy happened, I said that it was a freak accident, but it was one freak accident too many,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Thursday.
“Never again do we want to see something like that happen on a cricket field. We have a deep responsibility and obligation to look into the events of that awful day.”
Sutherland said the review, to be conducted by Melbourne lawyer David Curtain, will not attempt to blame anyone for the fatal accident.
“This is not an exercise designed to apportion blame on any individual for what took place. It is about making sure that as a sport we are doing everything in our power to prevent an accident of this nature happening again,” Sutherland said.
“There were certain measures put in place soon after Phillip’s passing such as increasing the medical presence at all CA matches and working very closely with our helmet supplier to investigate the suitability of protective head equipment offered to all players. This review will help
determine whether we need to implement further measures before the 2015-16 season.”
Hughes’ death was marked by an outpouring of grief among Australian players and the country’s cricket community, particularly test captain and Hughes’ close friend Michael Clarke. It resulted in a delay in the start of the India-Australia Test series which followed an emotional funeral in his hometown on the northern New South Wales state coast.
Sutherland said Curtain’s review will include making recommendations on the “causes and circumstances” which led to Hughes’ death and “Cricket Australia’s approach to mandating, and enforcing the use and wearing of personal protective equipment in order to protect the head and heart.”
Sutherland said he expected the review would be completed by the end of the year.