India's second tour match in Adelaide has been cancelled as Australian cricket takes a 'grief now, sport later' approach following the death of Phillip Hughes. Cricket Australia must also decide over the coming days how to approach the first Test at the Gabba, which is due to start on Thursday next week.
Four of the players picked in Australia's Test squad were on the field at the SCG at the time when Hughes was struck by an ultimately fatal blow during the Sheffield Shield game between New South Wales and South Australia on Tuesday. The full round of Shield matches had been abandoned by the close of Tuesday.
After Hughes died on Thursday afternoon, Cricket Australia's CEO James Sutherland said no thought had yet been given to the Brisbane Test and how Australian cricket would move forward in the immediate future. As well as the Test match, consideration will also need to be given to an appropriate farewell for Hughes.
"The Test match next week, we haven't thought that far ahead and we really don't think it is appropriate at this time," Sutherland said. "The whole of Australian cricket is grieving and all we want to do is provide the Hughes family all the support we possibly can right now. In the fullness of time we'll think about what's ahead, but to be honest we really haven't thought that far ahead.
"Phillip has only died this afternoon. The important thing is to provide support for everyone. In time people will start to think about what's next and obviously a funeral is one of those things. But we'll certainly make sure the Australian public get their opportunity to pay their respects to Phillip in an appropriate way in the foreseeable future."
In the hours after Sutherland spoke, it was confirmed that India's tour match against a Cricket Australia XI had been cancelled. Initially, the two-day match had been scheduled for Friday-Saturday, and then it was delayed until the weekend. By Thursday evening, it had been abandoned entirely.
"Today we were reminded that cricket is just a game and it is the characters that play the game that make it so special," Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's executive general manager of team performance, said. "We have spoken to the players and the ACA [Australian Cricketers' Association] and have made the decision based on the best interest of all concerned.
"Several of the CA XI players have returned home to seek support and solace from their family, friends and team-mates. We appreciate the support and cooperation shown by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, team management and the India players who have been nothing but respectful during this tragic time."
The India squad was set to train in the Adelaide Oval nets on Friday, but not on the ground proper, as a mark of respect to Hughes. After Hughes died, the India squad released a statement offering its condolences.
"The touring Indian team joins the cricketing fraternity across the world in offering condolences to the family of Phil Hughes, who has departed from our midst," the statement said. "In this moment of grief, we pray that they are bestowed with divine strength to overcome this unfortunate tragedy.
"As fellow cricketers we cherish the memories of playing along with him and deeply respect his contribution to the game of cricket."
Grief was also felt around the world: in Sharjah, the second day of the third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand was abandoned after news of Hughes' death was received. The match will resume on Friday and will be extended by a day.
It was also confirmed that Sydney's grade cricket, from first grade through to fifth grade, would not go ahead this weekend "as a mark of respect following the tragic passing of Phillip Hughes". Hughes played for the Western Suburbs club in Sydney's first-grade competition after moving to Sydney from the country town of Macksville.