Other Sports Hughes inquest hears Bollinger issued death threat

The inquest into Phillip Hughes' death has heard that former Test bowler Doug Bollinger admitted telling Hughes "I am going to kill you" on the day he died.

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The inquest into Phillip Hughes' death has heard that former Test bowler Doug Bollinger admitted telling Hughes "I am going to kill you" on the day he died while playing in the Sheffield Shield.

An investigation into Hughes' death has been largely focused on New South Wales' short-pitched bowling to the South Australia batsman at the SCG, as well as verbal jousting in the field.

Bollinger has strongly denied threatening Hughes, telling the inquest on Monday: "I know in my heart I didn't say that. I don't remember saying anything like that to anyone. I know I didn't sledge Phil."

Then-NSW captain Brad Haddin claimed he did not hear anything, a suggestion backed up by Tom Cooper, Hughes' batting partner when he was struck on the neck by a Sean Abbot bouncer which severed a vertebral artery. Hughes collapsed immediately on the pitch and died in St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, two days later.

However, Wednesday's proceedings were closed with a statement prepared by Matthew Day, a former colleague of Hughes at youth level, and team-mate of Hughes' brother Jason in local grade.

Day's statement read: "Whilst I was at the gathering at the Sydney Cricket Ground, I was with a group of players sitting where the players' seats area in the home dressing room.

"There were six or seven players in the group. I can't remember all of the players but Doug Bollinger was one of the group. There was general discussion regarding the circumstances of the match.

"At one stage Doug Bollinger said words to the effect of: 'One of my sledges was 'I am going to kill you'. I can't believe I said that. I've said things like that in the past but I am never going to say it again'."

Day claims to have passed on Bollinger's admission to Jason Hughes, who is said to have claimed Cooper had told him something similar.

The statement will have little impact on the inquiry's purpose - it has been established to explore whether safety could be improved in cricket - but will bring the ethics of sledging in the game into sharp focus.

Helmets protecting the area of the neck that Hughes was struck are now widespread in the game, although several figures involved have resisted calls for any rule changes, including Abbott, the bowler who fatally struck Hughes.

Abbott has not appeared at the inquiry but provided a statement, which read: "I know there is a suggestion that the laws of the game be changed so that bouncers should not be bowled, but the same cricket ball will be hit and flying around whether bouncers are bowled or not. 

"There will always be risks in the game.

"Nothing stands out to me as a change that should be made to cricket, except for maybe some more protective equipment and training on what to do if someone gets hit." 

Australia vice-captain David Warner has also given evidence to the inquiry, which is set to continue until Friday.

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