SYDNEY: Cricket greats Allan Border and Ian Healy on Thursday said Australia’s Test against India next week should go ahead despite players struggling to deal with Phillip Hughes’ shocking head injury.
Preparations for the first Test in Brisbane, due to start next Thursday, have taken a back seat since Hughes was felled by a bouncer during a domestic Sheffield Shield game between South Australia and New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground this week.
The 25-year-old remains in an induced coma after surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
Four of those named in the Test squad — David Warner, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon — were on the field when Hughes collapsed and rushed to his side, with questions raised as to whether they will be in the right frame of mind.
Warner’s father Howard told the Sydney Daily Telegraph: “Dave is just shattered.
He and Phil have been good mates for a while now. I spoke to Dave briefly… he’s doing it tough.”
A stream of players have been to St Vincent’s Hospital to see Hughes since the freak incident, with Haddin close to tears on Wednesday, while captain Michael Clarke has been at his close friend’s side almost continuously.
“There will be guys, particularly the guys that were out on the field at the time that are named in the Test squad, they mightn’t be feeling like playing cricket at the moment,” former Test captain and selector Border told Fox Sports.
“You’d understand if they wanted to pull out. But I think the game should go ahead.
“We’re all a bit numb at the moment. I get the feeling that Phillip would want the game to go ahead. But if the individuals don’t feel up it, then so be it.”
Former Test wicketkeeper Healy, now a commentator, echoed Border’s comments that the match should go on.
“My thinking might be that Phillip’s family and network could be the beneficiary or something,” he told Sky Sports radio.
“I wouldn’t really be thinking of delaying a Test match. I didn’t mind a round of Shield matches (being abandoned) because everyone is mates with Phil.
“My thought would be to play on and represent him and what he and his family are going through.”
The attention of cricket officials is currently on Hughes, not the Gabba Test.
“In regards to those fixtures later on, that’s not something we’ve had any specific conversations on yet,” Australian Cricketers Association chief Alistair Nicholson said on Wednesday.
Before the Hughes incident, Clarke’s Test place was in doubt as he battles a hamstring injury. A decision on whether he would be ready was due on Wednesday, but there has been no word so far.
Hughes, who has played 26 Tests, was seen as a potential replacement.