Australian team grieves with India Test on ice

by Martin PARRY

SYDNEY:  Shattered Australian players comforted each other Friday as they considered how to move forward after the death of Phillip Hughes, with a decision on next week’s Test with India on ice.

The cricket world was plunged into mourning when the talented left-hander died Thursday after being knocked unconscious by a ball in a domestic Sheffield Shield game in Sydney this week, sparking an outpouring of sympathy and support.

The entire Test team was summoned to the Sydney Cricket Ground and emotions were raw.

“I suppose the starting point is they are grieving, and they’ve lost someone that is incredibly close to them,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told a media conference.

“I think there is enough that we understand about grieving processes to know that it’s really important to give people time, and people will respond in different ways to what they’re going through.

“Six or seven days is not a long time, but right now with where we all are, it seems like a million miles away,” he added, referring to the opening Test in Brisbane which is due to start next Thursday.

There are growing fears that the game will be called off with the players in no fit state. It remains unclear when Hughes’ funeral will take place.

Four of those named in the Test squad — David Warner, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon — were on the field when Hughes collapsed after being hit at the base of the skull by a Sean Abbott delivery.

Captain Michael Clarke was a close friend of the stylish left-hander and was at his bedside almost continuously, supporting the player’s family.

“I know everyone wants to know about cricket and when it goes on and what’s happening,” said Sutherland. “We all love cricket and no one loved cricket more than Phillip. Cricket will go on and it will go on when we’re ready.”