The scheduled first test between Australia and India has been postponed due to the death of Australian player Phillip Hughes, with no new date set.
The game at Brisbane’s ‘Gabba ground was to have started Thursday, and Cricket Australia was yet to announce new dates.
Australian cricket remains in mourning for opening batsman Hughes who died Thursday, having not regained consciousness after being hit by a bouncer on Tuesday during a domestic game.
His funeral will be held in his home town of Macksville, between Brisbane and Sydney, on Wednesday and Cricket Australia said it was “neither feasible nor fair” to begin the test the next day.
Cricket Australia said Saturday that the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the India team had been notified and were understanding and supportive.
The decision came after former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said a Thursday start was impossible.
“It’s been such a tragic week for the Hughes family and the cricket community and I can’t imagine how anybody can be expected to play test cricket on Thursday,” Ponting wrote in a News Corp. Australia column.
“I don’t think it would be right. Even if the boys think they can play, it would be a miracle if they find the right frame of mind needed for five days of cricket.”
The Hughes’ family reportedly was happy for the game to go ahead as scheduled, but possibly not playing the first session on Thursday morning and instead placing a cricket bat on the Gabba pitch in his memory.
Most cricketers around Australia returned to play on Saturday. In Sydney and Adelaide, the two cities were Hughes played, grade cricket — the level below interstate cricket — was cancelled. But club and school games mostly went ahead as planned, with many players wearing black armbands.
Two numbers were often etched into pitches or on uniforms: 63, the run total Hughes had accrued before he was hit by the ball, and 408 — he was the 408th test player to compete for Australia.
There were also tributes from around the world from current and former players. New Zealand, playing a test against Pakistan, etched the letters PH on their caps and refused to celebrate when wickets were claimed.
The “putoutyourbats” hashtag has been trending on Twitter as thousands around the world place a cricket bat outside their home in honor of Hughes.
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who had been at the hospital at Hughes’ bedside and with his family since Tuesday’s incident, broke down in tears repeatedly on Saturday as he recalled his teammate, who came through the grades with Clarke for New South Wales then Australia.
“Things were always put in perspective when Hughesy said ‘where else would you rather be boys, but playing cricket for your country?’. We’re going to miss that cheeky grin and that twinkle in his eye. The world lost one of its great blokes this week and we are all poorer for it.”