The tragic death of Phillip Hughes, who never regained consciousness after being struck by a bouncer on Tuesday afternoon at the SCG, will have far reaching effects not only on the Australian Test team, but throughout the Sheffield Shield, and beyond.
The 25-year-old, who would have been 26 next Sunday, was revered by all those privileged to know the “happy-go-lucky country kid from Macksville”.
The Australians meet India in the first Test at the Gabba starting next Thursday.
It’s impossible to believe any of the playing XI will be in a fit state to represent their country.
Sometime in the interim, Phillip Hughes’ funeral will be scheduled, and every one of the Test team, the NSW and South Australians teams, from his home state and adopted state, plus many others from the other states, will want to be in attendance to pay their last respects.
How can the Test team be expected to perform after such trauma?
Counsellors will no doubt be called in by Cricket Australia to help overcome the grief, with only two possible ways for the professionals to do their job.
The positive way would be to get the message across of “let’s win this Test against India for Phil”. If that tack works it would be beneficial to all concerned.
The other alternative would be to minimise the genuine grief, but somehow that is unlikely to help the players.
There is a third alternative.
Cricket Australia called off the three Sheffield Shield games that started on Tuesday, the day Phillip was struck.
Cricket Australia could do the same again, and call off the first Test as it’s so close to Phillip’s death.
Somehow I don’t think the third alternative would serve any positive purpose, and could only magnify the grief with nothing to do.
As hard as it may sound, playing the Test with a “let’s do it for Phil” attitude would seem to be the most positive alternative.
Which ever way Cricket Australia’ goes, it will be hellishly difficult for the baggy greens, losing such a close mate under circumstances never faced before.
It will take a long time for all of the Australian team to get over this horrific accident.
But they can be rest assured that everyone in Australia, even non-cricket lovers and supporters, will be right behind them, sharing their pain.
And just as importantly, sharing the pain of Phillip Hughes’ family and friends who have been through two days of hell.