You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Cooper's fog at Hughes death is over

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Steve Larkin

The fog of despair at Phillip Hughes' death has finally lifted for his great mate, South Australian batsman Tom Cooper.

Cooper was batting with his housemate Hughes when his friend was stuck by a ball in a Sheffield Shield match in November 2014. He died three days later.

SA coach Jamie Siddons believes it's taken Cooper until now to deal with his grief and again become a linchpin in the Redbacks' Shield side, which hosts Tasmania from Friday.

"A lot of stuff has gone under the bridge now and he can put all that aside, a lot of bad stuff that he has had going on in his life," Siddons said on Thursday.

"Now he can focus on cricket. And he's a lot fresher, a lot freer to play the game that we know he can play."

Cooper struck 138 in SA's season-opening Shield triumph against Western Australia in Perth last week, after being dumped from the Redbacks' four-day side last season.

"Tom was probably closer than a lot of the guys as he was out there batting with Hughesy," Siddons said.

"So he has found it a little bit harder I think and that has played a big part in his form (last summer).

"He has been able to put that aside now and he's refreshed, he's bubbly, he's vocal again which is what they tell me he was like before it all happened."

Cooper was the Shield's second-highest runscorer in 2013-14, making 881 at an average of 51.82. The following summer, he amassed 626 runs at 58.61.

But Cooper slumped last summer, making just 249 runs at 17.78 before being axed. He was also overlooked for a state contract for this season.

But Siddons is buoyed by Cooper's return to form ahead of the Adelaide Oval fixture against Tasmania.

Rebacks paceman Joe Mennie will play after being named 12th man for Australia's first Test side against South Africa.

"It's a great result for us but I'm sure Joe would have loved, and we would have loved, to have him playing in the Test match," Siddons said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon