Adelaide: India's two-day tour match due to begin Friday has been cancelled following the shocking death of Australia Test batsman Phillip Hughes, Cricket Australia said on Thursday. The tourists were scheduled to begin a two-day game against a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide, but officials said the grief-stricken players will not be able to take the field.
The game was to be India's final lead-up to next week's opening Test against Australia in Brisbane. "Today we were reminded that cricket is just a game and it is the characters that play the game that make it so special," CA's Team Performance Manager Pat Howard said.
"We have spoken to the players and the ACA (Australian Cricketers Association) and have made the decision based on the best interest of all concerned. "Several of the CA XI players have returned home to seek support and solace from their family, friends and teammates. "We appreciate the support and cooperation shown by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), team management and the India players who have been nothing but respectful during this tragic time."
The popular Hughes died Thursday from his injuries after being hit on the head by a short-pitched ball in a domestic game two days earlier, never regaining consciousness. Indian players were shaken when informed of Hughes' death.
The squad had just completed training at Adelaide Oval when team director Ravi Shastri and coach Duncan Fletcher called them into a huddle. It was a brief conversation, with the squad quickly disappearing to the changing rooms before leaving the ground.
"The touring Indian team joins the cricketing fraternity across the world in offering condolences to the family of Phillip Hughes, who has departed from our midst," a statement from the Indian squad said. "In this moment of grief, we pray that they are bestowed with divine strength to overcome this unfortunate tragedy. "As fellow cricketers we cherish the memories of playing along with him and deeply respect his contribution to the game of cricket."
Stand-in skipper Virat Kohli tweeted on social media that he was "shocked and saddened by the news". The Adelaide Oval scoreboard carried a tribute message to Hughes, as staff and teammates attempted to come to terms with the 25-year-old's death from a rare head injury.