SYDNEY:- India’s cricket team remained in Adelaide Monday rather than travel to Brisbane as Cricket Australia works out what to do about the postponed first Test after the tragic death of Phillip Hughes.
The opening clash between the teams was due to start on Thursday at the Gabba but was put off following the death of Hughes in a freak on-field incident, with skipper Michael Clarke admitting his players were emotionally shattered.
Hughes died last Thursday from bleeding on the brain, two days after being knocked unconscious by a bouncer while batting during a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, throwing the cricketing world into mourning.
India were scheduled to travel to Brisbane on Monday to prepare for the Test, keeping the door open for the match being pushed back by one or two days.
But their decision to stay in Adelaide, and with Hughes’ funeral scheduled for Wednesday in his home town of Macksville, suggests that option may be off the table.
“The Indian side will remain in Adelaide until details for the first Test have been confirmed,” Cricket Australia tweeted.
The body has been in discussions with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and other stakeholders including broadcast partners about how to proceed.
But cricket officials have made clear the welfare of those mourning was the priority.
“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,” Australian Cricketers’ Association chief Alistair Nicholson said at the weekend.
The tragedy has deeply shaken the world cricket community, particularly in Australia where the sport is considered the national game. Flags have been flown at half mast and bats left outside front doors as a mark of respect.
The tributes continued Monday in parliament when Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Hughes’ death “has so affected people, because it happened in the midst of life at its most exuberant”.
“Sport is supposed to engender pride, not grief,” he added. “Phillip Hughes’ passing is a reminder that life is both precious and fragile.”
Fans have been told to hang onto their tickets for Brisbane until further notice.
A range of scenarios are being looked at, including the Test being abandoned completely although reports suggested rescheduling it to January 11-15 — after the Sydney Test — was shaping up as a likely scenario.
Other reports said the Adelaide Test, due to start on December 12, could be moved forward several days which would allow the Brisbane game to be played around December 17 and ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Any of those possibilities would make Adelaide the new first Test, a fitting venue for Australia’s first match after Hughes’ death given it