India stays in Adelaide, fuels series speculation
SYDNEY (AP) — India’s decision to remain in Adelaide rather than move to Brisbane ahead of the delayed first cricket test against Australia fueled speculation Monday about a change of venues for the series-opening match.
The first test was due to begin at the Gabba on Thursday but Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India agreed Sunday to postpone the start to allow Australian players to mourn the death of teammate Phil Hughes.
There was no indication from Cricket Australia on a new start date and the Indian squad’s decision not to travel to Brisbane led to speculation the scheduled second test in Adelaide, from Dec. 12, might now open the series.
That was one of the scenarios available to officials who faced logistical dilemmas in rescheduling the Brisbane test and the series.
Hughes died last Thursday, three days before his 26th birthday, after being struck on the head or neck behind the left ear by a short-pitch ball during a Sheffield Shield first-class match for South Australia against New South Wales.
He was pushing for a recall to the Australian test lineup, and his death shocked cricketers all around the world.
Hughes’ funeral will be held on Wednesday and his teammates are too emotionally distraught to consider playing a test match the next day.
Cricket Australia now has to weigh a number of options in re-scheduling the match, which will have to fit within a schedule unusually crowded because of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.
Those options include delaying the Brisbane test by a matter of days, cancelling the match and making the Adelaide test the first in a series reduced to three matches, or trying to fit the Brisbane test into the schedule.
Whatever decision it reaches will have to be approved by the BCCI.
The next round of matches in the Sheffield Shield competition, due to begin on Friday in Sydney, Perth and Hobart, are also likely to be postponed as players grieve. Hughes played for New South Wales before moving to South Australia. Players from both of those teams are expected to attend his funeral in Macksville, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales state.