1st test vs. India not priority for Aussies yet

By Dennis Passa ,AP

SYDNEY — As tributes were springing up around the country to commemorate Phillip Hughes, the Australian cricketers were being given time to mourn a teammate who died playing the game they all love.

The test squad gathered with Hughes’ family and friends in Sydney overnight, yet the topic of next week’s first test against India �X for which the 25-year-old batsman was pushing for selection �X wasn’t a major topic of conversation.

��We haven’t broached the subject with the players yet �X we will in time,�� Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told a news conference Friday, referring to the series which is due to start Thursday in Brisbane. ��But, to be honest, they’ve got other things on their mind.

��They’re grieving and they’ve lost someone that’s incredibly close to them. It’s really important to give people time.��

So far, the reflections of friends and family of Hughes, who died two days after he was hit on the head by a ball during a game between New South Wales and South Australia, have been about the country boy who made good.

��There was some great stories being told and a quite a lot of laughter about the cheeky little boy who came down from Macksville and had the highest ambitions for himself and his cricket game,�� Sutherland said.

Hughes was 63 not out when he was struck by the ball on Tuesday, and that number has become symbolic in the tributes.

At Cricket Australia headquarters in Melbourne, 63 bats were placed in windows. Players from clubs around the country were to wear black armbands and observe 63 seconds of silence ahead of weekend matches, some of them with 63 painted on to the pitch.

Junior batsmen in some modified competitions who usually must retire after reaching a score of 50 will be allowed to play on until they’ve scored 63. People around Australia were leaving cricket bats at their front doors, or windows or gates as a mark of respect on Friday.

At the Sydney Cricket Ground, in addition to flowers, flags and cricket balls being left near a front office building, a cricket bat was stuck in a gate near where the players usually enter.

New South Wales premier Mike Baird announced a state memorial service would be held at the SCG, after the government arranged a date with the family.

In Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and New Zealand resumed the test match Friday after a one-day suspension in honor of Hughes.

The players and officials wore black armbands and lined up to observe a minute of silence. As a further mark of respect, players from both teams put their caps on the handles of their bats and placed them alongside barriers near the boundary, and the New Zealanders penned initials ��PH�� on their shirts below the Silver Fern.

The Australian players in Sydney continued private commemorations.

Test players Brad Haddin, David Warner, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon were all in the field for New South Wales when their former national and provincial teammate Hughes, batting for South Australia, collapsed after mis-timing a pull shot and being struck behind the left ear on the neck. Test captain Michael Clarke spent most of the 48 hours after the accident at the hospital supporting Hughes and his family.