Sydney: As the Australian players prepare for an emotional return to the SCG ahead of the fourth Test against India, the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust has planned to unveil a bronze plaque in memory of Phillip Hughes, who fell to a fatal bouncer on this ground last month.
It is five weeks since the cricket world was rocked by the passing of the 25-year-old batsman, who had been struck on the helmet by a Sean Abbott delivery, while batting for South Australia against his former team New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match, here.
A crowd gathered to honour the late Phil Hughes at the Adelaide Oval. Pic/ Getty Images
In a series of commemorative gestures in the final match of the series starting January 6, the ground will have a plaque featuring a small bust of Hughes placed on the front wall of the members' pavilion outside the home dressing room, reports 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
The plaque above the players' race will include details of Hughes' career at the SCG, where he made his first-class debut for NSW in 2007 and played his first Test on Australian soil, against Pakistan in 2010. Sixty-three bats, individually etched with images from Hughes' career, will also be affixed to the outside upper tier of the members' stand. The number represents the score, 63 not out, that he was on when his life was cruelly cut short.
There also will be a small exhibition in the SCG Museum featuring some of the tributes the public made to Hughes. Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Alastair Nicholson acknowledges Australia's return to the SCG will be difficult.
"Having won the series has probably helped some of that, but no doubt there are going to be some challenging moments returning to the SCG," Nicholson said. "I think the fact the NSW Sheffield Shield [team] and the [Sydney] Sixers ... the Australian players will take some solace that those players have returned there. I suppose playing at the SCG is another step in honouring Phillip's memory. Time is a healer, but no doubt there will be some challenging moments."
Leading the series 2-0, the hosts have already reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but SCG will be a different ball game and coach Darren Lehmann is not sure how Steve Smith and company will cope. "I don't know," Lehmann said.
"They'll be fine, they're back in the contest, that's all good and [in] Adelaide they were a little bit quiet. From my point of view we've got to have a couple days off now and try to get through that over the next few days."