Melbourne, Nov 29:
Cricket Australia (CA) announced Saturday that the first Test match between Australia and India, due to start Thursday would be rescheduled, following the tragic death of batsman Phillip Hughes from a bouncer during a domestic match.
“These are extraordinary circumstances and we simply couldn’t or wouldn’t expect our players to be emotionally ready to start a Test match the day after farewelling one of their teammates. Their welfare is our absolute priority. They are grieving and to expect that they could play a high-pressured, five-day Test match the following day is out of the question,” CA chief executive Sutherland said.
Hughes was struck on the head in a Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground Tuesday by a bouncer that fractured his skull. He suffered massive bleeding in his brain and died in a Sydney hospital Thursday.
CA thanked the Indian cricket board for supporting the decision.
“We appreciate the incredible understanding and support of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It has been nothing short of outstanding during these difficult times. We fully acknowledge the many groups who want to know when the Test will take place, particularly cricket fans in Queensland, Queensland Cricket and Stadiums Queensland.”
CA also asked for patience from the cricketing community in the wake of the tragic incident.
“We just ask the cricket community for some patience as we work through a range of scenarios in full consultation with the players, the Indian Board, the ICC and our broadcasters. We hope to resolve all matters in the next few days and will let cricket fans and the game’s many important stakeholders know as a priority.”
The ticket sales for the Test have also been suspended.
“We know that there are many people who have purchased tickets to the Test match who will be wondering what happens next? Once the situation has been resolved, we will advise them as a priority. Fans should simply hold onto their tickets until further notice,” Sutherland said.
“After consulting with the players, we have communicated to Cricket Australia that the opportunity to farewell their team mate is the priority, and the prospect of them playing the following day is simply too big an ask, Australia Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief executive Alastair Nicholson said.
“The players are going through a grieving process and they must be afforded the opportunity to do so. As anyone can appreciate, this process doesn’t run according to a clock or a calendar.
“This is a unique situation and a unique response is required. We will continue to discuss options with the players and Cricket Australia over the coming days.”
A meeting will be held early next week to discuss the scheduling of the fifth round of the Sheffield Shield matches due to start Friday (Dec 5).