Image courtesy of: tjca.nsw.cricket.com.au
Cricket Australia have confirmed that batsman Phillip Hughes’ funeral will be held on December 3 in his hometown of Macksville.
Hughes tragically passed away at the age of 25 after being struck on the side of the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales pace bowler Sean Abbott.
As a result of this, the first Test between Australia and India, which was scheduled to start on December 4 in Brisbane, has been postponed.
For those who want to attend the service, it will take place in the sports hall of Macksville High School at 2pm.
It has also been announced that the funeral will be broadcast live on television and radio and that extra flights between Sydney and Coffs Harbour, which is a 45 minutes’ drive away from Macksville, have been arranged.
The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Adelaide Oval will also broadcast the funeral live on their scoreboard screens.
“We are grateful to the Australian community for the overwhelming show of support it has extended to the Hughes family in recent days,” Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said. “The offers of assistance for Wednesday’s service have been remarkable.
“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, so the work of our broadcasters will help ensure people around the country can follow the service on TV, radio and online.”
Speaking about the decision to delay the first Test, Sutherland said: “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 team-mates. 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.
“We appreciate the incredible understanding and support of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. It has been nothing short of outstanding during these difficult times. We fully acknowledge the many groups who want to know when the Test will take place, particularly cricket fans in Queensland, Queensland Cricket and Stadiums Queensland.
“We just ask the cricket community for some patience as we work through a range of scenarios in full consultation with the players, the Indian Board, the ICC and our broadcasters. We hope to resolve all matters in the next few days and will let cricket fans and the game’s many important stakeholders know as a priority.
“We know that there are many people who have purchased tickets to the Test match who will be wondering what happens next? Once the situation has been resolved, we will advise them as a priority. Fans should simply hold onto their tickets until further notice.”
Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief executive Alistair Nicholson agreed with Sutherland’s views and added that none of the players would have been in the right frame of mind if the first Test had gone ahead as planned.
“After consulting with the players, we have communicated to Cricket Australia that the opportunity to farewell their team mate is the priority, and the prospect of them playing the following day is simply too big an ask,” he said. “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. 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.”
As of right now, it is still unknown when the first Test between Australia and India will begin.