Phillip Hughes death brings old foes India and Australia closer

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Mumbai | Published: November 28, 2014 5:18:33 PM

India and Australia might be sworn enemies on the cricket field but the two nations have been united in mourning...

India and Australia might be sworn enemies on the cricket field but the two nations have been united in mourning the shocking death of Phillip Hughes.

The 25-year-old Australian batsman was struck on the head by a bouncer during a domestic match on Tuesday and passed away after two days in a Sydney hospital from the injury which caused massive bleeding to his brain.

The heart-rending news made the front page of every leading newspaper in India, while some also carried stories in editorial pages debating safety gear and the use of the short ball in cricket.

Hughes was also part of the Mumbai team in the Indian Premier League and the country’s top cricketers, including former batting great Sachin Tendulkar, took to Twitter to express their solidarity with the family and friends of the deceased.

The national side, currently touring Australia, joined the mourning by forgoing their last practice match before next week’s first test in Brisbane.

In the past, the two teams have been involved in a number of on-field controversies, including the infamous ‘monkeygate’ scandal, when India spinner Harbhajan Singh was accused of racially abusing Australia’s Andrew Symonds during a Sydney test on the side’s 2007-08 tour.

A large slice of the Indian media hold Australia’s cricketers responsible for the start of bad blood during that series but there was hardly a murmur on how the cancelled practice match will hurt the preparations of the notoriously poor travellers this time around.

While the fate of the first match in the four-test series remains uncertain with Cricket Australia yet to make a decision due to the unique circumstances surrounding the contest, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has offered full support.

“I am in constant touch with my Cricket Australia counterparts. We want them to first get over the trauma,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told Reuters on Friday.

“After that we can decide on the fate of the first test.”

Incidentally, the same BCCI, the most powerful body in world cricket, was ruthless in dealing with their Caribbean counterparts when the West Indies abruptly pulled out of a series in India over a payment dispute.

The West Indies Cricket Board stares at financial ruin after the BCCI demanded nearly $42 million in compensation for the pull-out and suspended all planned tours of the Caribbean.

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