Ahmed Shahzad grateful bouncer only fractured his cheekbone

Pakistan opening batsman says he knows what it felt like being hit by a bouncer.

Ahmed Shahzad is hit on the helmet by a Corey Anderson bouncer as he plays a shot while New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling looks on the Abu Dhabi Test. Aamir Qureshi / AFP
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Pakistan Test opener Ahmed Shahzad knows he had a lucky escape when a short-pitched ball cracked his cheekbone earlier this month and says he "froze" when he heard the news of Australia batsman Phil Hughes's death on Thursday.

Hughes died in a Sydney hospital two days after being struck by a ball that led to a “catastrophic” injury which caused “massive” bleeding to his brain.

The news brought an outpouring of grief on social media, with past and present players conveying their shock and passing on tributes, while many expect his death to prompt a rethink of the safety standards in the game.

“I froze when I heard this tragic news and my heart went out to his family because I have been very fortunate to be on my feet again,” Shahzad said on Thursday.

Shahzad suffered a hairline fracture of his cheekbone after being hit by a short-pitched ball from New Zealand’s Corey Anderson on November 10.

Shahzad had to undergo scans after complaining of pain and dizziness and was sent home to recover, missing the remainder of the Test series.

“I know how it feels. That moment. The day Hughes was hit I knew what his family was going through. I prayed for his recovery,” Shahzad added.

“The New Zealand players were sympathetic after I was hit but I know this is part of cricket and one has to endure them.”

Pakistan’s cricket community was shocked at Hughes’s death, and former Test pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz told Reuters that Sean Abbott, the player who accidentally hit Hughes, would also need to be looked after.

“I just hope that the bowler who bowled the short-pitched ball to Hughes is being given counselling because he would be distraught at this moment,” he said.

“The short-pitched ball is a legitimate ball but as a bowler you are also shaken when you are responsible for causing an injury to someone.”

Former wicketkeeper Rashid Latif said the International Cricket Council should order a review of the safety gear provided by manufacturers.

“It should be done now because while no one is to blame for what happened, the ICC and its member boards must make sure helmets available today are top quality and safe,” he added.

Cricket community pays tribute to departed Hughes

Michael Clarke

“We’re devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother Phillip. Cricket was Phillip’s life, and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We love you.”

Steve Smith (on Twitter)

“Rest in peace Hughesy. I am really going to miss you. You were 1 of the great blokes and I will never forget you. #408 will live on forever.”

Darren Lehmann, Australia coach (on Twitter)

“RIP you little champ, we are all going to miss you!”

Shane Warne, former Australia leg-spinner

“It’s a sad situation that a great young man who had the world at his feet is no longer with us. We all love the entertainment sport gives us so to see something like this...it is something that should never happen. I worked closely with the Australia team in March and saw how hard he worked. He loved the game and was very passionate. He was a really good man, he was one of the good guys.”

The ball which struck Hughes was bowled by Sean Abbott and Warne offered his support to the bowler too.

Warne supports bowler Sean Abbott

“It’s important for friends and the cricket community to get round Sean Abbott too. I’m sure he’ll be distraught but it’s not his fault. Hopefully he’ll be okay and can bounce back.”

Adam Gilchrist, former Australia wicketkeeper (on Twitter)

“No no no no no. RIP Phillip Hughes. For eternity the spirit of Cap No. 408 #RIPPhilHughes. May those footprints in the sand now support another young man in need. #SeanAbbott.”

Tony Abbott, Australian prime minister

“A very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family.”

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia chief executive

“It was Phillip as a person we will miss most .. he was humble, understated and hard working. He set a wonderful example.”

Michael Vaughan, former England captain (on Twitter)

“Just far too young...He was only doing the job he loved...and was brilliant at it... #RIPHughes.”

England team statement

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Phil Hughes’ family, friends and team-mates at this incredibly sad time. Phil was admired and respected by all he played with and against, and will never be forgotten by the cricket community.”

Giles Clarke, England and Wales Cricket Board chairman

“He was an extremely popular and hugely respected cricketer in England and Wales not only as a successful tourist with various Australian teams but also as a wonderfully talented county player with Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire. He will be missed throughout the world of cricket and today our thoughts are with his family and all those involved in Australian cricket.”

Mike Hesson, New Zealand coach

“It’s an unthinkable loss and I can tell you it’s an incredibly sombre dressing room right now.”

Tony Irish, executive chairman of Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations

“Phil was a popular and respected cricketer not only in Australia and amongst Australian players, but also amongst other players around the world. I speak on behalf of the world’s professional cricketers in saying what a tragic loss this is of a young man who would have had many years of international cricket ahead of him.”


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