30 Nov 2014

1st Test delayed for Hughes' funeral

1:27 pm on 30 November 2014

The Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes will be buried in his home town on Wednesday, forcing the indefinite postponement of the Test match against India which was scheduled to begin the following day.

Phillip Hughes, with English County side Middlesex, 2009

Phillip Hughes, with English County side Middlesex, 2009 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hughes, 25, died on Thursday as the result of a catastrophic injury he sustained when struck on the head by a ball during a domestic match, triggering a wave of mourning in Australia and around the world.

The funeral will take place in the Hughes family's home town of Macksville in northern New South Wales.

It will be held in the sports hall of Macksville High School where Phillip was educated.

Overflow areas will be made available for guests to watch the service via vision screens set up on the school's two ovals.

The service will be broadcast live on television in Australia and streamed live on Cricket Australia's website and app.

Qantas has scheduled additional flights between Sydney and Coffs Harbour on a cost recovery basis to assist people wishing to attend the funeral.

The first Test may yet be abandoned, or potentially start on Friday or Saturday.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said it would have been unreasonable to expect the players to get the four-test series underway less than 24 hours after Hughes was laid to rest in Macksville, New South Wales.

"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," he said in a statement.

Ticket sales for the match at the Gabba in Brisbane have been suspended and a new date will be set after consultation with broadcasters and stadium officials, Sutherland added.

A day after fighting back tears in an emotional statement to the press, the Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has opened up about the death of his close friend, Hughes, in a newspaper column.

Clarke was commended far and wide on Saturday when he read a prepared statement on behalf of the national cricket team and support staff at the SCG.

On Sunday, News Corp Australia published Clarke's personal tribute to his close friend.

"I don't think in 12 years of playing cricket at the top level I have ever come across a more loyal or generous-hearted teammate," Clarke wrote.

"If he had a tough conversation with a selector he would nod, agree he needed to work harder, grin because he felt bad for the person delivering the message and then get on with it.

"You knew deep down he was shattered because playing cricket for his country meant everything to him.

"That his career, and his life, was cut short in his prime is incredibly unfair.

"I don't have a blood brother, but I am very proud to have called Phillip my brother. I am a better man for having known him.

"Vale Hugh Dog. I will miss you forever, but I will not forget.

"Happy birthday bro."

Clarke posted on Twitter that it "has been the hardest few days of my life".

Clarke's leadership during such a tragic time for the cricket community has been widely praised, with Cricket Australia team doctor Peter Brukner and chief executive James Sutherland both thanking him in recent days.

"Michael Clarke is Pharlap. All bloody heart. That statement would've been tougher then any innings. Plenty of pain & love right there," Paralympic gold medallist Kurt Fearnley posted on Saturday, one of many moved by Clarke's words.

Clarke on Sunday also wrote of the support forthcoming for Sean Abbott, the allrounder who delivered the ball that struck Hughes on Tuesday.

"Not one single person blames him in any way for what has happened. He deserves our full support," he noted.

"He will absolutely have mine whenever he needs it, and I know that also goes for the entire Australian cricket community.

"Sean, when you feel like getting back on the horse mate, I promise you that I will be the first to strap on the pads and go stand up the end of the net to hit them back at you.

"It's exactly what Hugh Dog would want us both to do."