Cricket Australia will be understanding of players who feel uncomfortable about playing in the wake of the death of Phillip Hughes when the rescheduled India Test series starts next week, chief executive James Sutherland said on Tuesday.
Sutherland was speaking at Sydney Airport before his flight to Macksville, where Hughes will be buried on Wednesday some six days after he died from a catastrophic injury caused by a ball striking him in the back of the head during a domestic match.
The reshuffle of the India series, which was originally scheduled to begin in Brisbane on Thursday, was announced late on Monday with the Adelaide match now the first of the four Tests and starting next Tuesday.
Admitting that the new arrangements were by no means “perfect”, Sutherland expressed his thanks to the understanding shown by all stakeholders but reiterated the welfare of the players was secondary only to that of the Hughes family.
“There’s a funeral tomorrow, let’s just understand that’s going to be difficult enough as it is,” he said.
“I’d encourage everyone to give players their space and let them in their own way work through that.
“It’s absolutely up to the individual (whether they play), and any player that is not comfortable or doesn’t feel right, or there is medical advice that it is not quite right, we will obviously understand that.”
Pace bowler Ryan Harris, who was included in the squad for the first Test despite being on his way back from knee surgery, later said he was not sure he would be emotionally ready to bowl in Adelaide.
“Tomorrow is the day we are thinking about. In the back of our mind is Tuesday and we have got to do what we can to try to prepare for that,” he told reporters in Brisbane.