29 Nov 2014

Black Caps struggle with loss of Hughes

10:36 am on 29 November 2014

The New Zealand cricket coach Mike Hesson says his players are struggling with the death of Australian batsman Phil Hughes, and says the Black Caps considered abandoning the final test against Pakistan.

Phillip Hughes tribute black armband.

Phillip Hughes tribute black armband. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Before the start of second day's proceedings Pakistan and New Zealand players and officials observed a minute of silence in respect of Hughes who passed away on Thursday after being hit by a bouncer in a first-class match in Sydney.

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 28 November 2014 .NZ players bats and caps in tribute of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes on the second day of third test in Sharjah.

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 28 November 2014 .NZ players bats and caps in tribute of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes on the second day of third test in Sharjah. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Teams had agreed to abandon the second day's play in Sharjah yesterday when the tragic news poured in from Australia and Hesson admitted it was tough to play for his players.

"I think everybody was hit in different ways," said Hesson of the after-effects. "Everybody in the team is affected, some very deeply affected and today wasn't about cricket, today was about supporting one of our fellow players.

"The players were really struggling and there is no doubt about that. I think the key for us was to help the individuals in the group who were struggling more than the others and get through the day."

Asked how close the New Zealand team came to not continuing the Test on Friday, Hesson said: "There was a lot of discussion taking place regarding the Test match continuing, this morning the Test match continued and we knew that so we turned up and we were aware of that and we worked on helping each other get through the day."

New Zealand dominated the day by dismissing Pakistan for 351 from a strong 3-281 and then raced to 1-249 with Brendon McCullum hitting a fiery 153 not out.

Off-spinner Mark Craig took a career-best 7-94 but Hesson said nobody was thinking of performance.

"We weren't conscious of the performance, we were just looking after each other," said Hesson, whose team did not celebrate the fall of wickets in the morning. "The game was irrelevant at that stage, that was just a natural reaction (not celebrating) by a group of people whose mind was elsewhere."

Hesson said nobody fielded close to the batsman and no bouncer was bowled.

"We didn't have anyone under the close field and under a helmet and didn't bowl any bouncer and that was to show respect."

Hesson praised Craig and McCullum.

"I think Mark drifted the ball and certainly created lots of curves and got rewards," said Hesson of the spinner.

"Brendon can play like that and he was going through a range of emotions today but that certainly showed the character of the man to play the way he did," said Hesson of McCullum who played alongside Hughes for New South Wales.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.