Sydney, Australia (BBN)-England’s Stuart Broad does not believe cricketers have changed the way they play since Phillip Hughes’ death.
Today is the first anniversary of the Australian’s death, which came two days after he was struck by a bouncer, reports BBC.
“I don’t think it’s affected the way players are bowling or batting,” Broad told Stumped on BBC World Service.
“When you’re playing for your country against another country, it’s full of passion and pride. You do everything you can to try to win that contest.”
However, Broad says the death of 25-year-old Hughes “shook” the cricketing world and believes players are now showing more concern for each other on the pitch.
During last summer’s Ashes, there was visible worry from both sides when Australia’s Chris Rogers was hit by a James Anderson bouncer, and again two days later when the opener had to leave the pitch suffering with dizziness.
During a one-day international between the same two sides, England captain Eoin Morgan had to retire hurt after being struck by Mitchell Starc’s short-pitched delivery.
Speaking about Hughes’ death, Broad said: “It was an awful time for cricket – it’s not an uncommon thing for players to get hit on the head but it is obviously hugely uncommon for someone to pass away playing cricket.
“I think it shook the whole cricketing world, it was a few weeks of real sadness. Now, when you see someone get hit on the head you see immediate concern from everyone on that field.
“That’s been a huge change – the teams showing real care for the injuries of other players.”
‘SHOULD I BE BOWLING BOUNCERS?’
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke, who guided his fellow players through the traumatic experience of losing a team-mate, said the team’s dressing room “will never be the same” following Hughes’ death.
Tributes will be paid to Hughes during the third Test between Australia and New Zealand at his old home ground of the Adelaide Oval, which begins on Friday.
Both Mitchell Johnson, who retired last week, and spin bowler Stephen O’Keefe have spoken about Hughes in the lead-up to the anniversary.
“I had that Ashes series in 2013-2014 where I was really aggressive and bowling a lot of short balls and I did hit players,” said Johnson.
The death, he added, “made me think, was I doing the right thing? You know, was I playing in the spirit of the game?”
O’Keefe, who has been recalled to the Test squad for the day-night clash with New Zealand, was fielding for New South Wales when Hughes was struck.
“The game has changed for me forever,” said O’Keefe, whose only previous Test cap came against Pakistan in 2014. “It’s not what it was.
“You’re playing a game that’s supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to be in a great contest, and then in the blink of a ball it completely changes on you.
“I just hope in my lifetime that I never have to see anything like that again, and we can remember Phillip for what he was, which was a great bloke and an even better player.”
A LASTING LEGACY
Cricket was quick to reassess the safety of the players in the weeks after Hughes’ death, with the main change being the development of extra protection on helmets.
Many batsmen now wear an extra piece of protection, called a stem guard, which covers the back of their head and neck, where Hughes was fatally hit.
There are also suggestions that umpires, close fielders and coaches conducting training sessions will soon have to wear some form of head protection.
“There will become a time where if you get on hit in the head you don’t have long-lasting effects,” said Broad. “I know the helmet manufacturers are working very hard with their development teams to get it in place.
“That has to be a goal because there are at least a handful of players in the past year that have missed cricket after getting struck on the helmet. There’s certainly movement to be done there.”