Sydney - Australia's four-Test series against India will now start in Adelaide
on December 9 after Cricket Australia on Monday reworked the schedule
following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes.
The opening clash between the teams was due to start on Thursday at
the Gabba in Brisbane but was put off following the death of Hughes in a
freak on-field incident, with skipper Michael Clarke admitting his
players were emotionally shattered.
Hughes died last Thursday from bleeding on the brain, two days after
being knocked unconscious by a bouncer while batting during a domestic
match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, throwing the cricketing world into
India were scheduled to travel to Brisbane on Monday to prepare for
the Test, but they remained in Adelaide, effectively ending any hopes
that the Gabba Test may be pushed back by one or two days.
With Hughes' funeral scheduled for Wednesday in his home town of
Macksville, Cricket Australia Monday night listed a change of dates on
its website, with Adelaide Oval now hosting the first Test.
Instead of starting on Friday, December 12 - as the second Test
originally slated for Adelaide was scheduled to - it will begin on
This is seen as a fitting venue for the new first Test given it was
Hughes' adopted home ground for the past two summers with South
Such a shift will allow the second Test to be played in Brisbane from
December 17-21 with the traditional Boxing Day clash in Melbourne
remaining unchanged, while the Sydney Test has been pushed back three
days and will now start on January 6.
Listing of the new fixtures followed lengthy discussions between
Cricket Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and other
stakeholders including broadcast partners.
The decision to move the Brisbane game comes as no surprise with
cricket officials making clear the welfare of those mourning Hughes was
"The players are going through a grieving process and they must be
afforded the opportunity to do so. As anyone can appreciate, this
process doesn't run according to a clock or a calendar," Australian
Cricketers' Association chief Alistair Nicholson said at the weekend.
The tragedy has deeply shaken the world cricket community,
particularly in Australia where the sport is considered the national
game. Flags have been flown at half mast and bats left outside front
doors as a mark of respect.
The tributes continued Monday in parliament when Prime Minister Tony
Abbott said Hughes' death "has so affected people, because it happened
in the midst of life at its most exuberant".
"Sport is supposed to engender pride, not grief," he added. "Phillip
Hughes' passing is a reminder that life is both precious and fragile."
Clarke, a close friend of Hughes, has already arrived in Macksville
via helicopter, with some 5,000 mourners expected at the service,
including the Indian team.
Doctors said Hughes died after his vertebral artery split when hit by the ball, leading to massive bleeding in his brain.
It was a freak injury with only 100 cases ever reported and only one known incident as a result of a cricket ball.
New Test dates, according to an updated fixture list on the Cricket Australia website:
Adelaide Oval: December 9-13
Gabba, Brisbane: December 17-21
Melbourne Cricket Ground: December 26-30
Sydney Cricket Ground: January 6-10