It's official. The Brisbane Test, which was supposed to get underway on December 4, will not go ahead as scheduled in the wake of Phillip Hughes' untimely death. While the decision has met with mixed response, at first sight, the choice seems very understandable. There are two ways of looking at things -- firstly, the game has been delayed because the players, especially the Australians, are just not in a mood to play cricket at the moment, which is highly logical. On the other hand, greats like Ian Chappell have suggested that the game must go on, for it is exactly how Hughes would have wanted it, and that would be the best tribute to the departed player.
The decision to not hold the first Test on December 4 is all the more understandable considering the fact that Hughes' funeral will be held just a day before. Had the tragic event occurred a couple of weeks before the Brisbane Test, players might have still somehow managed to pick themselves up. At least, they would have made an effort to. But, to expect the Aussies to step out to play a game just days after bidding farewell to their beloved friend would have been a bit too much. No one would have been mentally prepared for the competition, and the game itself would have looked a complete exercise in futility. Not only the Aussies, even the Indians would not have been prepared to play a Test under the sad circumstances.
Some fans might be upset with the developments. After all, they may have brought the tickets well in advance, and would have made their plans for the big five days. Many might have even taken leaves from their work. But, one has to understand that this is an exceptional situation. No one could have predicted the same. As of now, cricket is second priority. The cricket viewers must also understand that. With the kind of professionalism Cricket Australia is known for, the fans can expect that they would get to view what they have paid for, but they will have to wait for the same for the situation to improve.
As of now, the task of Cricket Australia is definitely to look after its players. Some of them, who were extremely close to Hughes, would undoubtedly be completely shattered by the happenings. It is the time to give them some proper counselling, even though for a lot of them it wouldn't matter much as of now. One cannot help but feel for Sean Abbott, who will be extremely distraught by what has occurred in front of his eyes. Even though he is nowhere to blame in the entire happening, Abbott will find it extremely difficult to pick himself up from this point. Deep down, the thought of the fact that it was his delivery that felled Hughes would always remain in his mind.
This is also a difficult and highly awkward time for team India. As it is, there was too much pressure on them to prove themselves away from home following the numerous reverses in recent years. With Virat Kohli leading the young team for the opening Test in the absence of an injured MS Dhoni, the Indians were looking to turn over a new leaf in Australia. All that has now been put on the backburner in the wake of Hughes' death. Whatever they do in the series -- good or bad -- would not count for much considering the exceptional circumstances under which the series will now be held. Both teams will somehow have to go through the motions.
--By A Cricket Analyst