Under normal circumstances Doug Bollinger is the ever-smiling, wisecracking bowler.


Effervescent, larger-than-life and full of noise.

But the sterile confines of a witness box at the Downing Centre were not his environment, and nor should it have been.

For the first time in his ­career, Bollinger was called upon to justify what he does.
Why he bowls short, and why he might sledge opposition players.

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The common question being asked around sporting circles was, why?

What was to be achieved from putting the national sport so starkly on trial?

Or from trying to get Brad Haddin, who was also called, and David Warner, who submitted a written statement, to try to contradict themselves on their memory of NSW's bowling plans that day?

Bollinger was cast as the villain for a couple of hours as it was alleged he sledged Phillip Hughes or his batting partner Tom Cooper with "I'm going to kill you", until he ­finally had a chance to defend himself and declare he "knew in his heart" he never said that.

Bollinger says he did not sledge Hughes, but even if he did, what is the relevance of making him admit it?

"Get ready for a broken f... ing arm," Michael Clarke once said to England's James Anderson in the heat of an Ashes series Test.

It was misguided for the court to even explore the ­notion that on-field talk or short-pitched bowling could have exacerbated the risk of Hughes being fatally injured.

It was a shocking, freak ­accident, that didn't deserve to have its closest witnesses brought into the firing line.