The AUSTRALIAN divulges the full text of Their Evidential Letter to the Coroner, 15/16 October 2016
I am Gregory Bruce Hughes. I am the father of Phillip Joel Hughes; the late Test, One-Day and 20/20 international player for Australia. Husband of Virginia Hughes and father of Jason and Megan Hughes. I’m a humble farmer who believes I have successfully taught my children the meaning of life alongside (my) wife Virginia. With these values I also believe I have given my children the desire to succeed in their own individual way. An example of this would be the feeling I had seeing my son Jason and daughter Megan on stage at Phillip’s funeral service speaking so highly of their loved brother and our family. I am truly very proud to be their father.
I hope that the incidents that occurred (on the day he was hit) did not contribute to Phillip’s serious injuries that afternoon. Within saying that, through this letter, I would like to express my concerns on (the) following issues that happened that afternoon. That Tuesday, November 25, 2014, I received a phone call from Megan, who was at the Sydney Cricket Ground with my wife. My son Phillip was not out on 50 runs when I received this exciting news. This innings was an important one for my son and we all knew it. We knew that with Phillip gaining some runs under his belt, it would cement a spot for him in the upcoming matches for the Australian team. We were all very anxious and excited for Phillip.
Some time later, I received another call from my daughter, and at this point I was hoping for more great news. He was still not out, however, the run rate dropped and he was hanging in and doing his job.
The next phone call was heartwrenching. Megan told me Phillip had been hit and didn’t have any other details other (than) the game had been stopped. When Megan called me again she was at the hospital in a private room with Virginia and my eldest son. I spoke with Megan and Jason about the issue and they were very straightforward about me catching a flight and flying down to Sydney as soon as possible. Next thing I know, I’m receiving a call to pack a few important things and to catch a lift to the airport. Once arriving (at) St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney I was greeted and escorted to my family. I then became aware that talk was starting to move around from person to person. This was about the number of short balls that were played to my son.
Since, there has been common knowledge from the NSW camp that they could not get Phillip out that day and changed their tactics. Their tactics changed after lunch, which started to slow the run rate down and this was by bowling short at my son for a good majority of time. This certainly did restrict the run flow and started to change the game.
Another concern I have … would be this short-pitch bowling my son received for a period of time. The umpires did not call them as ‘no balls’ under the Sheffield Shield cricket laws. Those laws are different to the MCC rules. By those balls not getting pulled up, of course, this kept the bowlers continuing to target my son in an ungentlemanly way.
I have not had a chance to view the footage of the game that day as of yet but the individuals who have, have expressed the same feelings. It showed my son giving hand gestures to his team member Tom Cooper at the other end, as if to say: “What is going on?’’
Sledging is a part of the game. However, I have become aware … that while Phillip was playing alongside Tom there were words expressed by the NSW bowlers. They were more abusive and intimidating than sledging, an example being: “I am going to kill you”. Tom Cooper has expressed his emotion to us about this and doesn’t know if Phillip heard (bowler) Doug Bollinger say this but Tom did. Knowing this game and being involved with this sport — it was a passion of my two sons, and my own — I certainly know this is not sledging.
With these slanderous comments made and the use of illegal deliveries, in my eyes it led to a very unsafe workplace.
My other concerns consist of the actions made after my son was injured: the delays with the ambulance and why they went back and forward about whether to airlift my son to the hospital or by ground. The phone calls made after the incident. The timing and what was said to have the ambulance arrive after a lengthy time. As well as the lack of medical staff that were on hand. I would like to think my son was in the best possible care that he could have been, but with these allegations made and the dishonesty we have encountered it’s a process to believe everything went smoothly.
With these concerns, my wife Virginia, my children Jason and Megan and I would like to see them be included in the coronial investigation. I would like to gain through the coronial investigation that my son had the best care possible and that his workplace was not unsafe on this day. As well, if there were breaches executed with the managing of the medical situation and also the manners of the game that afternoon, we would like them investigated to prevent these mishaps reoccurring, as we do not want to see any other family go through the pain we have endured.