SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian bowler Sean Abbott returned to action with New South Wales on Tuesday, two weeks after bowling the bouncer at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) that led to the death of Phillip Hughes.
The 22-year-old was named in the starting line-up for the four-day Sheffield Shield match against Queensland, the first fixture at the SCG since Hughes was struck in the back of the head by the delivery on Nov. 25.
Abbott was devastated by the death of his former team mate two days later and received of a wave of support from fellow players in Australia and around the world.
The home side lost the toss and will field first on Tuesday, giving Abbott an early opportunity to get back into his stride.
The New South Wales players will wear black armbands in memory of Hughes and have “PJH 707” stitched onto their shirts for the remainder of the season, a reference to the batsman being the 707th player to play for the state team.
Hughes played 37 first class matches for his home state before moving to the Adelaide Oval, where the first test against India also begins on Tuesday morning, to join South Australia.
After the funeral in his home town of Macksville last week attracted thousands of mourners, plans to hold a state memorial service for Hughes in Sydney have been scrapped.
“All parties felt that given the enormous outpouring of support at last Wednesday’s funeral, a state memorial service would no longer need to be held,” New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said.
”Last Wednesday’s funeral in Macksville was a wonderful service and a fitting tribute to Phillip’s life, and it was a privilege to be a part of it.
“It was a community event attended by thousands of people, watched live by millions of Australians and observed at a number of grounds around the country, including the Sydney Cricket Ground.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford