There were fears that 22-year-old Abbott might not play again after bowling the 90mph bouncer which struck Hughes on the neck during a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November. The 25-year-old Test batsman died in hospital two days later.
The incident shocked cricket and the wider sporting world, and the outpouring of grief for Hughes was matched by widespread sympathy for the man who had bowled the fatal delivery.
But Abbott returned to Sheffield Shield action for New South Wales a fortnight later, and took match-winning career-best figures of 6/14 in the second innings against Queensland.
Abbott, who has played one-day and T20 international cricket, won the Bradman award as Australia’s young cricketer of the year at the Baggy Greens’ annual awards ceremony.
The BBC reported that Abbott had thanked “the Australian cricket family and wider community” after learning of his award. He said he felt privileged to receive the Bradman award, and expressed gratitude for the support of his “family, close friends and team-mates, and especially girlfriend Brier.”
Meanwhile batsman Steve Smith completed a stunning treble at the awards, receiving the Allan Border Medal – voted for by players, umpires and media – and being named both Test and one-day player of the year. Smith took over as skipper from the injured Michael Clarke during the recent four-match Test series against India. He scored hundreds in all four Tests, finishing the series with 769 runs at an average of 128.