Sport Cricket First Aus-India Test postponed
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First Aus-India Test postponed

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Next week’s first Test has been delayed, with grief-stricken Australian cricketers to attend Phillip Hughes’ funeral in Macksville on Wednesday.

Cricket Australia confirmed on Saturday that the Test will not start in Brisbane on Thursday as scheduled.

Tickets sales have been suspended, and CA chief executive James Sutherland says he hopes to confirm the status of the game “in the next few days.”

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“(CA is working) through a range of scenarios in full consultation with the players, the Indian board, the ICC and our broadcasters,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland added it was “out of the question” for players to be taking the field at the Gabba a day after the service at Macksville High School.

“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 one of their teammates,” Sutherland said in a statement.

“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.”

Australian Cricketers Association chief Alastair Nicholson asked for patience regarding the uncertainty.

“The players are going through a grieving process and they must be afforded the opportunity to do so. As anyone can appreciate, this process doesn’t run according to a clock or a calendar,” Nicholson said.

“This is a unique situation and a unique response is required. We will continue to discuss options with the players and Cricket Australia over the coming days.”

Australia will find it hard to find 11 men mentally ready to take the field in Brisbane.

Test players David Warner, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon were fielding at the SCG on Tuesday when Hughes was fatally struck on the head.

Michael Clarke was set to be scratched from the Test squad earlier this week because of his hamstring injury.

But Clarke’s leadership during this traumatic time has been incredible and the 33-year-old will want to be on the field to guide teammates through their toughest Test.

India will fly to Brisbane on Monday and are working on the assumption the game will start later in the week.

“We appreciate the incredible understanding and support of the Board of Control for Cricket in India,” Sutherland said.

“It has been nothing short of outstanding during these difficult times.”

Australia’s Test squad assembled in Sydney following the freak accident, but have started returning to respective homes.

Hughes’ funeral will be broadcast live by the Nine Network, ABC Local Radio and the Fairfax Radio Network, while Adelaide Oval and the SCG Trust will also screen the service.

Qantas has scheduled two additional services between Sydney and Coffs Harbour on Wednesday.

“While we know that people from all around the nation want to pay their respects to Phillip, there will only be limited capacity in Macksville,” Sutherland said.

AAP

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