Adelaide: Recovering from the shock of Phillip Hughes' tragic death, Australian coach Darren Lehmann is hoping that the distraught cricketers would honour the late batsman's memory by playing the opening Test against India here even though they are under no pressure to turn up.
Australian coach Darren Lehmann
The home side is under tremendous emotional stress following Hughes' death after being hit by a bouncer during a domestic game. The entire squad attended the batsman's funeral in his hometown of Macksville and skipper Michael Clarke broke down while reading out his tribute to the player he called his little brother. The distressed squad flew to Adelaide today for the opening match against India starting December 9.
"We hope the boys can find the inner strength to play the game in the way Phillip would have wanted in Adelaide next week and that they can honour what he had done," Lehmann wrote in his column for 'The Australian'.
"We want to hold his values close to our heart and that means playing cricket the way he did, with a love of the game and a smile. It's going to be hard and if somebody is struggling Michael and I understand. There is no pressure on them," he added. Lehmann said those who choose not to play would be cared for.
"We will look after them and we will help them get back to the place where they can play."
Meanwhile, former Australia captain Mark Taylor said the best way to honour Hughes' memory is to play the Test.
"I also think it's going to be difficult for them to move on and I think until they start playing cricket again they won't actually move on," Taylor said.
"So I think it will be part of the healing process when they do play in Adelaide next Tuesday."