Bayliss targets triumph after tragedy

England coach was a witness to the Lahore bus attack and Hughes’ death

Afp July 02, 2015
File photo of Trevor Bayliss. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: There are a lot of people within cricket who are apt to call a one-sided match a “massacre” or a dropped catch a “tragedy”, but new England coach Trevor Bayliss is unlikely to be one of them.

The Australian was in charge of Sri Lanka when their team bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore in 2009 in an incident that killed eight people and injured seven visiting players.

Bayliss was also present, in his role as New South Wales coach, when South Australia and Australia batsman Phillip Hughes was fatally struck hit on the head by a bouncer during a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November.

For Bayliss, about to coach England against his native Australia in an Ashes Test series, the memory of the Lahore attack — where England deputy Paul Farbrace was with him as assistant Sri Lanka coach — remains vivid.

“I certainly remember when the bombs and the bullets were flying around, I thought ‘oh well... I can’t believe we’re actually being shot at’, but there was nothing I could do except keep your head down and your backside up,” Bayliss told reporters at Lord’s. “You just deal with it as best you can and get on with it.”

The 52-year-old added, “To everyone’s credit in the bus, there was no shouting and what not. I suppose you don’t know how people are going to react until they are put into that situation, but everything was very calm.”

As for the death of Hughes, who died after being struck by a Sean Abbott bouncer, Bayliss said there was a need to honour his memory without the batsman’s passing inhibiting the way sides played their cricket. “While the game of cricket honours his memory, we can’t let it affect the way we go about the game, whether that is playing in an aggressive manner. It is important that all sides play in their way,” summarised Bayliss. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd,  2015.

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