Grieving loved ones have muttered in seeming disbelief at the testimony of a Cricket Australia official in a sign of the deepening wedge between Phillip Hughes’ family and the cricket fraternity.
Sports medicine and sports science manager Alex Kountouris on Thursday told the Hughes inquest he “absolutely” denied he knew about the family’s concerns regarding the day’s play at the time he investigated the fatal incident.
The denial solicited head shakes from Hughes’ family.
Hughes’ father, Greg, appeared to mouth an obscenity, while his mother Virginia leant forward and cried.
It’s not the first time the Hughes family have disagreed with evidence at the inquest into the batsman’s death after being struck by a delivery from Sean Abbott in a Sheffield Shield match in November 2014.
The court has heard former Tasmanian cricketer Matthew Day and Hughes’ brother, Jason, were told NSW bowler Doug Bollinger said “I am going to kill you” to either Hughes or his batting partner before the cricketer was fatally struck by a ball.
Bollinger denied the comments during evidence on Monday.
All players called to the inquest, including Australian vice-captain David Warner, have said they can’t recall the sledge.
Mr Kountouris also told the coroner’s court he did not interview players or umpires for the 2015 incident report, which ended up focusing on the response to the injury.
He said information could have been conveyed better when Hughes was injured and there were now medical briefings before each day of play.
But he stopped short of agreeing that it should be someone out in the middle who rings an ambulance in the case of player injury.
“I don’t think that would change the process,” he said.
The court has heard the incident was initially assigned the third-highest rating because the man who called the first ambulance did not know if the cricketer was conscious, breathing or suffering serious bleeding.
A second triple-zero call resulted in the matter being assigned the top category and the ambulance dispatched off the back of that call got to the Sydney Cricket Ground before the first.
Greg Hughes cried as Jamie Vernon, who was NSW Ambulance operations unit director at the time, expressed his condolences on Thursday.
Mr Kountouris is expected to be the last person to give evidence.
The inquest will continue with submissions on Friday.