With players mourning the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, there is still uncertainty over whether the first Test between India and Australia will go on as per schedule next week.
The Test is scheduled to commence at Brisbane on December 4, and Cricket Australia’s chief executive officer James Sutherland said the players were grieving and it was important to give them time to cope with the huge loss.
“I suppose the starting point is they are grieving, and they’ve lost someone that is incredibly close to them,” Sutherland told reporters.
“I think there is enough that we understand about the grieving processes to know that it’s really important to give people time, and people will respond in different ways to what they’re going through.
“Six or seven days is not a long time, but right now with where we all are, it seems like a million miles away,” he added.
Sutherland insisted that the Test match would take place only when the players were mentally ready.
“I know everyone wants to know about cricket and when it goes on and what’s happening. We all love cricket and no one loved cricket more than Phillip. Cricket will go on and it will go on when we’re ready,” said Sutherland.
Four of those named in the Australian Test squad — David Warner, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon — were present on the field when Hughes collapsed after being hit on the neck.
Sutherland said he had spoken to Hughes’s father Greg about whether Phil would have wanted the team to play on.
“I can remember just in the last few hours, conversations with Phillip’s father telling me just how much he and the family love cricket and Phillip loved cricket more than anyone,” Sutherland said.
“And he would want nothing more than for the game to continue. But, as I said before, the game will continue at Test level when we’re ready.”
Sutherland said even if the first Test takes place, the teams would have different preparations under the current circumstances.
“We’ve been in constant contact with the officials from the Indian Cricket Board, and I’ve got to say that their understanding and empathy has been absolutely outstanding,” Sutherland said.
“They understand that these are unique and extraordinary circumstances and I guess both teams will have, if a Test match goes ahead, a very different preparation,” he added.