No pres­sure on Aus­tralia play­ers for Ade­laide test

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

ADE­LAIDE — Cricket Aus­tralia will be un­der­stand­ing of play­ers who feel un­com­fort­able about play­ing in the wake of the death of Phillip Hughes when the resched­uled In­dia test se­ries starts next week, chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land said on Tues­day.

Suther­land was speak­ing at Syd­ney Air­port be­fore his flight to Macksville, where Hughes was buried yes­ter­day, some six days after he died from a cat­a­strophic in­jury caused by a ball strik­ing him in the back of the head dur­ing a do­mes­tic match.

The reshuf­fle of the In­dia se­ries, which was orig­i­nally sched­uled to be­gin in Bris­bane to­day, was an­nounced late on Mon­day with the Ade­laide match now the first of the four tests and start­ing next Tues­day.

Ad­mit­ting that the new ar­range­ments were by no means “per­fect”, Suther­land ex­pressed his thanks to the un­der­stand­ing shown by all stake­hold­ers but re­it­er­ated the wel­fare of the play­ers was sec­ondary only to that of the Hughes fam­ily.

“There’s a fu­neral to­mor­row, let’s just un­der­stand that’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult enough as it is,” he told re­porters.

“I’d en­cour­age ev­ery­one to give play­ers their space and let them in their own way work through that.

“It’s ab­so­lutely up to the in­di­vid­ual (whether they play), and any player that is not com­fort­able or doesn’t feel right, or there is med­i­cal ad­vice that it is not quite right, we will ob­vi­ously un­der­stand that.”

Pace bowler Ryan Har­ris, who was in­cluded in the squad for the first test de­spite be­ing on his way back from knee surgery, later said he was not sure he would be emotionally ready to bowl in Ade­laide.

“To­mor­row is the day we are think­ing about. In the back of our mind is Tues­day and we have got to do what we can to try to pre­pare for that,” he told re­porters in Bris­bane.

“I’m still think­ing about it and I’m not sure, see how we go to­mor­row, I guess. But this is tough for some boys and it is go­ing to be tough for me. I will have to work it out when I get to Ade­laide and see how we all feel.

“The boys who were there who wit­nessed what hap­pened I can’t speak for them be­cause I can’t imag­ine what they are go­ing through.”

Suther­land said con­sid­er­a­tion had been given to can­celling the Bris­bane test, which is worth some A$20 mil­lion (M169,7 mil­lion) to Cricket Aus­tralia and will now be squeezed be­tween the Ade­laide and Mel­bourne tests from 17-21De­cem­ber.

“To be hon­est it was close, there were only a few days in it, but in the end we’ve been able to get to a so­lu­tion that I be­lieve was op­ti­mal,” he said.

“I just hope ev­ery­one will un­der­stand the big pic­ture here, th­ese are tragic and ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances.”

Alis­tair Nicholson, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Aus­tralian Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion ( ACA), rep­re­sented the play­ers in the dis­cus­sions about the reschedul­ing and said the so­lu­tion sat­is­fied their two main con­cerns.

“It was very im­por­tant that the Hughes fam­ily were given a chance to lay Phil to rest and the prepa­ra­tion time was also im­por­tant,” he said.

“Be­cause of the need to play five days of in­tense cricket against In­dia, the ap­pro­pri­ate amount of prepa­ra­tion time was paramount.

“It’s ob­vi­ously go­ing to be a tough sum­mer with four tests against In­dia and the World Cup but the play­ers will now be able to fo­cus be­cause there’s now cer­tainty.”

Suther­land said the Hughes fam­ily had been “over­whelmed” by the out­pour­ing of sym­pa­thy from around the world and said he hoped the fu­neral -- three days after what would have been Hughes’s 26th birth­day — would pro­vide a mea­sure of clo­sure.

“We’re headed to Macksville for a fu­neral and hope­fully that’s a great cel­e­bra­tion of Phillip’s life and then we can move for­ward,” he said.

“At the same time, we un­der­stand the chal­lenge for our play­ers and those clos­est to the Hughes fam­ily, and of course the Hughes fam­ily.”

— Reuters

Phillip hughes

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