Sunday 18 March 2018

Morgan blow reminded us of Hughes, admits Aussie skipper

England's Eoin Morgan is struck by Australia's Mitchell Starc
England's Eoin Morgan is struck by Australia's Mitchell Starc

Nick Hoult

Steve Smith, the Australia captain, admitted that Eoin Morgan’s head injury after being struck by Mitchell Starc sparked harrowing memories of the death of Phillip Hughes.

Starc played in the match last November when Hughes sustained a fatal blow to the head, and also bowled the short ball that knocked Morgan to the ground in yesterday’s series-deciding ODI at Old Trafford.

The England captain did not reappear and was left nursing a headache after turning his head and being struck on the helmet in the seventh over of the England innings. A visibly upset Starc was one of the first to check on Morgan and, as he fielded on the boundary in the next over, he was consoled by Australia’s head coach, Darren Lehmann.

“A couple of the guys were  shaken up,” Smith said. “It’s never good when you see someone hit on the head, so I hope he’s OK. Mitchell Starc was a little bit shaken up, he was close to Phillip Hughes. We had a tough summer at home losing a close mate and it is always nasty when you get a blow like that.

“As a bowler you have to get back on the ship as quickly as possible. You have still got a job to do out in the middle. You need to put it out of your mind as much as possible, but you never like to see someone get hit like that.”


Trevor Bayliss was in charge of the New South Wales team at the Sydney Cricket Ground that day in November when Hughes was hit on the side of the head. The England head coach said: “He [Morgan] has a lump on his head and a headache, but he is up and about having a chat. He is fine. When anyone gets hit it is an anxious moment, although the fact he walked off the field was a good sign. He was a bit dizzy for a while and it took him an hour to come good.”

It was the third time Morgan has been struck on the helmet in this series and Bayliss admitted that he may have to work on how he plays the short ball. Morgan has led from the front with the bat this summer, but Bayliss felt that his injury was not the only reason his team were badly defeated yesterday.

The head coach said: “To be honest we did not play well today. Australia played well and the challenge for this team going forward is for those types of days to happen less and less.

“As professional sportsmen you want to win every series you play, but one of the good things to come out of the summer is the way they have gone about playing their cricket. There will be hiccups like today but the development of some of individuals has come a long way.”

Bayliss will meet his fellow selectors today to choose the one-day and Test squads for the series against Pakistan before heading back to Australia for a short break.

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