Advertisement

Cooper takes stand at Hughes Inquest

South Australia batsman Tom Cooper gives evidence at inquest into Phillip Hughes death

South Australia batsman Tom Cooper has denied the claim from the Hughes family that Doug Bollinger sledged batsmen with "I'm going to kill you" during the Sheffield Shield match in which Phillip Hughes was fatally injured.

Cooper's testimony came on the second morning of the week-long inquest into the death of Hughes at the NSW Coroner's Court in Sydney.

Cooper was at the non-striker's end when Hughes was struck on the neck while batting for the West End Redbacks in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25, 2014.

Hughes died in hospital two days later as a result of a traumatic basal subarachnoid haemorrhage caused by the blow.

Asked about the alleged sledge by Bollinger, Cooper said "I'm confident it didn't happen."

"If it had of happened I would have remembered it.

"It's quite personal, it would stick in your mind."

Cooper added that Bollinger's usual attempts at sledging batsmen were "more funny than derogatory".

Bollinger himself and Brad Haddin, the NSW wicketkeeper and captain on the day Hughes was struck, had previously denied the sledge on the Monday.

The claim was raised by Jason Hughes, brother of Phillip, and detail emerged on day two that Cooper had told Jason of the sledge in the change rooms after the incident.

Cooper faced an at-times heated cross examination from Greg Melick SC, counsel representing the Hughes family.

Asked to recall speaking to Jason Hughes, Cooper recalled telling Jason it was "a tough period of play, with plenty of short stuff" but denied he had relayed the alleged "I'm going to kill you" sledge from Bollinger.

Melick: "Is it possible you said that and now can't recall?"

Cooper: "No."

Melick: "I suggest you actually told Jason those words and you are now denying it?"

Cooper: "No."

Melick attempted to have the court play footage of the over Sean Abbott delivered before Hughes was struck, but this was denied by NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes.

Melick focused on the nine deliveries Abbott delivered to Hughes when he was brought on for the 47th over, questioning Cooper if he thought it was an unusual tactic.

"No, I've experienced that a number of times," replied Cooper, who has played 72 first-class matches.

Cooper said his description of the lead-up to the ball that struck Hughes as "a tough period of play" related to his own experience as a new batsman. Cooper had faced 22 balls when Hughes was struck.

"I had just gone in. They always come in pretty hard with a new batsman," Cooper said.

"I personally felt under pressure. It's my job to score runs."

CA and Hughes family ask for privacy