SYDNEY (Reuters) - Emotions were still too raw in the wake of the death of Phillip Hughes to make a decision on whether to go ahead with next week’s first test against India, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said on Friday.
Indian cricket officials were being kept closely informed, Sutherland added, and had been “outstanding” in their understanding of the “unique circumstances” surrounding the match, which is scheduled to start in Brisbane next Thursday.
“Cricket will go on and it will go on when we’re ready,” Sutherland told reporters outside the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
“To be honest, we haven’t broached that subject with the players yet. We will in time, but to be honest, they’ve got other things on their minds.
“I know for many people, seven days doesn’t seem too far away but in other ways it is a million miles away. We will get there when we can.”
Cricket in Australia has come to a standstill in the wake of the death of 25-year-old Hughes on Thursday, two days after he was struck on the head by a short delivery during a domestic Sheffield Shield match at the SCG.
Among the matches cancelled was India’s two day tour game in Adelaide, the touring party’s last chance to get some match practice before the four-test series starts at the Gabba in Brisbane.
“We’ve been in constant contact with the officials from the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and I’ve got to say that their understanding and empathy has been absolutely outstanding,” Sutherland added.
“They completely understand the situation and they’re doing everything they can to do that. They will prepare themselves in the best way possible.
“They understand that these are unique and extraordinary circumstances and I guess both teams will have, if a test match goes ahead, both teams will have a very different preparation.”
The BCCI will wait for Australia to arrive at a decision.
“I am in constant touch with my Cricket Australia counterparts. We want them to first get over the trauma,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told Reuters.
“After that we can decide on the fate of the first test.”
Pat Howard, Cricket Australia’s team performance manager, said the Australia squad had gathered in Sydney and were receiving the full support of medical and backroom staff.
“We’re not going to talk about the first test. We know it’s there,” he said.
“What we’re focused on today is grieving, dealing with the questions.”
Sutherland said the views of Hughes’s family would be taken into account when a decision was made on whether to go ahead with the match but suggested that the final word would go to his former team mates.
“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,” he said.
“Phillip loved cricket more than anyone, and he would want nothing more than for the game to continue, but, as I said, the game will continue at test level when we’re ready.”
Additional reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien