India-Australia first Test won't start on Thursday
Adelaide: With the cricket world still mourning the death of Phillip Hughes, the first Test between India and Australia next week was on Saturday put off to an unspecified date and might even be cancelled to pay homage to the batsman.
India captain Virat Kohli leaves a bat and cap at a memorial for Phillip Hughes outside the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
In a statement issued on Saturday, Cricket Australia announced that the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to be played in Brisbane from December 4 has been postponed.
The decision was taken in light of the fact that Hughes' funeral will take place in his hometown of Macksville on Wednesday, December 3.
Funeral on Wednesday
The entire Australian side and members of the Indian team and its support staff will be attending the funeral (on Wednesday in New South Wales).
The 25-year-old left-handed cricketer died on Thursday after being hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game two days prior, sparking nationwide outburst of emotion.
CA CEO James Sutherland stated: "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 (sic) 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."
"We appreciate the incredible understanding and support of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. It has been nothing short of outstanding during these difficult times," he added.
The announcement did not give any further details on when the Test match would be held. Meanwhile, spokesperson for the travelling Indian team, Dr R N Baba said that the Test could begin on Friday, December 5. However, it is learnt that the first Test could altogether be cancelled and a decision to this effect could be taken on Sunday.
The Indian team will fly out to Brisbane on Monday afternoon as scheduled. If the Test match doesn't go ahead, it is understood that the visiting team will be afforded a practice game at Brisbane, in all probability a three-day match.
The second Test at Adelaide then will go ahead as scheduled and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will then be contested as a three-Test series.
Before the news came forth, the Indian team continued to prepare for the first Test. They got back to the grind with a full-day practice session at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
The Indian team's two-day tour game against Cricket Australia XI, which was supposed to be played at the Adelaide Oval on Friday-Saturday had been cancelled.