Former Scotland cricket captain Craig Wright has welcomed the return of Sean Abbott to the game after the Australian bravely re-embarked on his cricket career.
Abbot was the bowler who delivered the ball which struck Australian batsmen Phil Hughes on the neck, with fatal consequences.
Yesterday, Abbott, took the ball and, with his fifth delivery, sent down a bouncer playing for New South Wales. It was just a few hours before that Wright, as assistant national coach, helped unveil a pool of 24 in Edinburgh from which Scotland’s eventual World Cup squad of 15 will be named. As a former adversary of Hughes and a fast bowler himself, Wright followed the situation closely, remarking: “It’s fantastic Sean Abbott is back. The way the whole situation has been handled, with the togetherness and spirit of the cricket community being shown, has been tremendous.
“It’s tremendous for the lad. He has obviously had strong support around him.”
Recalling the day in 2009 when he faced Hughes at Raeburn Place as Middlesex visited to tackle Scotland, Wright said: “Phil Hughes was still a young lad, but a big hope nonetheless. There was a lot of talk surrounding his place in the Middlesex team. We didn’t see that much of him because Dewald Nel bowled him (for 11 scored off 20 balls in 17 minutes) but he was a fantastic player and what happened was tragic.”
It is precisely his background of mixing with the elite that makes Wright an invaluable figure in the Scotland backroom set-up supporting head coach Grant Bradburn alongside former England all- rounder Phil Collingwood.
Wright’s CV includes captaining Scotland on the last occasion they qualified for a World Cup (2007), and valuable lessons were learned that are now being put into place.
“Without a doubt I can pass things on including about how you approach playing in a World Cup from a psychological point of view,” Wright said.
“The mentality has to be to display your skills as if it was any other game; that is the biggest thing experience teaches you. You just go out and play as if in the back garden, albeit the ball might be coming at you a bit quicker. Undoubtedly it is an opportunity for lads to showcase their own talents.”
Wright’s successor as Scotland captain is Preston Mommsen, of Carlton, who was recently named ICC Associate Country Player of the Year.
“I would not be at all surprised if Preston took his chance to catch the eye but we have players, ability wise, who are all capable,” he said.
Scotland are drawn in a pool with New Zealand, England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan when the action starts in February.
“Playing host countries Australia and New Zealand in their own backyard in matches that are already sold out will bring tremendous exposure.
“What is important is not to get caught up in things,” Wright added.
“You have to take the (big) names and opponents right out of it and just play cricket.”