Gabba Test in doubt as Australia continues to mourn

"We're going to focus on people first rather than the cricket"

“We’re going to focus on people first rather than the cricket”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

There are still doubts about whether the first Test between Australia and India at the Gabba in Brisbane will go ahead as planned since the country is still mourning about the loss of batsman Phillip Hughes.

Hughes tragically passed away yesterday after he was struck on the side of the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales pace bowler Sean Abbott.

“Everyone wants to know about cricket and when it goes on, and what’s happening,” Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said. “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. To be honest, we haven’t broached that subject with the players yet.

“We will in time. To be honest, they’ve got other things on their mind. I know for many people, seven days doesn’t seem very far away, next Thursday, but in other ways it’s a million miles away. We’ll get there when we can.”

Cricket Australia’s high performance manager Pat Howard added: “We’re not going to talk about the first Test. We know it’s there. What we’re focused on is today. We’ve brought the whole team in. The Australian Test team [is] here. Today is about grieving, about dealing with the questions.

“We need to make sure the players are in the position where they can make strong choices, and that’s not now. Any choices [will be made] with the Hughes family and where they are and involving them, and that’s obviously not now either…We’ll do whatever we can, whatever the players need to deal and cope with this. We’ll do whatever we can to help and support the Hughes family. We’re going to focus on people first rather than the cricket.”

Recalling his conversation with Hughes’ father Greg, Sutherland said: “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, and Phillip loved cricket more than anyone. He would want nothing more than for the game to continue, but as I said before, the game will continue at Test level, when we’re ready.”

India’s second tour match against Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide has already been cancelled as a result of Hughes’ death, and Sutherland stated that he was very grateful for all the support shown by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“We’ve been in constant contact with the officials from the Indian cricket board and I’ve got to say that their understanding and empathy has been absolutely outstanding,” Sutherland said. “They completely understand the situation. They’re doing everything they can to do that.

“They’ll prepare themselves in the best way possible. They understand that these are unique and extraordinary circumstances and I guess if the Test match goes ahead, both teams will have a very different sort of preparation.”

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