Aus vs Ind: 1st test v India not priority for Aussies yet
Sydney: Australian cricketers still mourning the death of Phillip Hughes haven't been asked yet to make a choice about whether or not to play or postpone the first test against India next week.
Family, friends and teammates of the 25-year-old batsman, who died two days after he was hit on the head by a cricket ball during a game between New South Wales and South Australia, have been gathering at the Sydney Cricket Ground and swapping stories about the country boy who made good.
The first test is due to start next Thursday in Brisbane, which will be a week after Hughes died in a Sydney hospital.
"We haven't broached the subject with the players yet — we will in time," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told a news conference Friday. "But, to be honest, they've got other things on their mind.
"They're grieving and they've lost someone that's incredibly close to them. It's really important to give people time."
Test players Brad Haddin, David Warner, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon were all in the field for New South Wales when their former national and provincial teammate Hughes, batting for South Australia, collapsed after being struck by a short-pitch ball. Test captain Michael Clarke spent most of the 48 hours after the accident at the hospital supporting Hughes and his family.
Cricket Australia performance manager Pat Howard said the Australian squad had gathered in Sydney and would be taking cricket "day-by-day."
"We need to be in a position when players can make strong choices. That's not now," Howard said. "We're going to focus on people first, then the cricket."
Howard said the Hughes family would be involved in the decision, and funeral plans will influence whether the first test is delayed or abandoned.
A two-day tour match between India and a Cricket Australia invitation XI has already been canceled. Sutherland thanked the touring India players, saying their "understanding and empathy has been outstanding."
"To many people, (the first test) doesn't seem too far away," Sutherland said. "But in other ways, it's a million miles away. We'll get there when we can."
Tributes and messages of condolence kept flooding in from around the world on Friday, from international stars in many sports and regular cricket fans.
At Cricket Australia headquarters in Melbourne, 63 bats were placed in windows to reflect the unbeaten score that Hughes had reached in his last innings.
Players from clubs around the country were to wear black armbands and observe a minute of silence ahead of weekend matches. Junior batsmen in some modified competitions who usually must retire after reaching a score of 50 will be allowed to play on until they've scored 63.
People around Australia were leaving cricket bats at their front doors, or windows or gates as a mark of respect on Friday.
Sutherland said the gathering the players and friends overnight at the SCG was filled with stories and memories of Hughes.
"It was a sad and quiet occasion," he said, "but it was a memorable one."