Update on arrangements for First Test for ACA Members

29 Nov 2014

I (120)

Dear ACA Member,

Following extensive consultation with our players, and discussions with James Sutherland, we've resolved that the first Test between Australia and India will not start on Thursday 4 December as scheduled.

This is a unique situation and a unique response is required. This outcome is only a first step and our consultations and representations on behalf of players will continue.

For the players, farewelling their team mate is the priority, and the prospect of them playing the following day is simply too big an ask. Details of Phillip Hughes' funeral are listed below.

The players are going through a grieving process and they must be afforded the opportunity to do so. As anyone can appreciate, this process doesn't run according to a clock or a calendar.

We will continue to discuss options with the players and Cricket Australia over the coming days and ensure that players' best interests are given paramount importance.

Players have received the highest possible level of support

Clearly this has been a traumatic time for a lot of our players.

From the moment we learned of the seriousness of the situation, our immediate concern was the emotional health of players from each of the New South Wales and South Australian teams. This involved recognising that they needed both professional assessment and treatment - and practical support from family and those close to them.

We were able to utilise the NSW and SA support staff initially and we then arranged for a team of psychologists and counsellors to work with each player.

We subsequently set up a similar program in each of the States, coordinated through Player Development Managers.

This counselling is ongoing and will continue for as long as it takes.

One of the other key challenges we're working through is when players should return to playing. The Australian players are the focus here initially.

Our consultations are ongoing and we will continue to represent the players' views strongly to Cricket Australia.

The views of experts are also important as we prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of players in a unique situation. The demands of Test cricket are enormous, both physically and emotionally, and we will be doing everything we can to look after our players, along with respecting their desire to pay tribute to their teammate.

A meeting will be held early next week to discuss arrangements for round five of the Bupa Sheffield Shield.

There is no doubt that the players have been given an incredible boost by the overwhelming amount of affection, sympathy and support they've received from fellow ACA Members, and others both within and beyond our shores. I can't express how gratefully these have been received.

Take care,

Alistair Nicholson

Phillip Hughes funeral to take place on Wednesday 3 December

The Hughes family has confirmed funeral arrangements for their son Phillip.

The funeral will take place at 2.00pm on Wednesday 3 December in the Hughes family's home town of Macksville in northern New South Wales.

It will be held in the sports hall of Macksville High School where Phillip was educated. Given the limited capacity in the hall, overflow areas will be made available for guests to watch the service via vision screens set up on the school's two ovals.

The service will be broadcast live by the Nine Network with the feed available to all other television networks to take live if desired.

ABC Radio will also broadcast the service live around the country.

ACA members wishing to attend the funeral are encouraged to make their own travel arrangements directly as there will be limited availability of flights. We are making enquiries with Cricket Australia with respect to travel for current players and will advise players directly in due course, although again, places are unfortunately likely to be limited due to capacity constraints.