James Tomlinson admits he is still struggling to digest the shocking news of former team-mate Phil Hughes’ tragic death.
The long-serving Hampshire bowler played alongside Hughes during the Australian batsman’s two-week spell at the Ageas Bowl late in the 2010 campaign.
The 25-year-old played just five games for the club during a short stint but struck up a good rapport with his team-mates in that time.
And Tomlinson revealed the pair shared a unusual common interest.
He said: ‘I got to know Phil reasonably well during his short time at the club.
‘It was only a brief period towards the end of the 2010 season.
‘He was a very strong-minded, down to earth lad and a very good batsman, even though he was struggling for a bit of form at the time.
‘But you could see he had the type of character to do well because you see a lot about people when things aren’t going for them on the pitch.
‘And you could tell he was a fine player.
‘One thing that sticks out is that we talked a lot about the countryside and wildlife – he was into it as much as me, which is rare.
‘Normally, I get a bit of stick about it but he was very passionate about it having grown up in the countryside back in Australia.
‘He was very popular with the youngsters but it is just so sad.
‘It’s just hard to digest it and my thoughts go out to all of his family and friends.’
Tomlinson also admitted his thoughts were with Sean Abbott – the bowler whose bouncer struck Hughes, which initially left him unconscious.
He said: ‘He must be feeling so low at this point but there is no blame attached to him.
‘Bouncers are part of the game and they always will be. It’s just a horrible thing to happen.
‘Bowlers have their job to do but it’s not something that ever occurs to you that you could injure a batsman, so it is quite scary.
‘I don’t know the ins and outs but it seems like it was just a terrible, freak injury.
‘If you look at the vast majority of sports, there is an element of danger involved. You can get hit by a rogue ball in golf and you only have to look at rugby to see the dangers there.
‘It is just an incredibly sad day for everyone involved in sport.’
The 2015 domestic fixture list was set to be released yesterday but news of the summer schedule, which will see Hampshire back in the top flight of the County Championship, was postponed following the news of Hughes’ death.