Darren Lehmann: India Test can help Australia with grief after Phillip Hughes death

Australia face India on Tuesday in first match since Hughes' death

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Australia coach Darren Lehmann’s message for his side was to “stick together” as they began preparations for their first Test against India – their first match since the death of batsman Phillip Hughes.

Hughes died on 27 November aged 25, two days after he was hit on the neck by a bouncer from Sean Abbott during a Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales. He played 26 Test matches and 25 one-day internationals and, although Lehmann admits it will be a “challenge” to move on without the batsman, he feels cricket could help the grieving process.

“Yeah we think so, only time will tell but I am sure they will be fine,” he said ahead of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, which begins on Tuesday. “They are looking forward to getting out there and playing some cricket, training, and getting ready for a Test match. Obviously Hughesy would want us to do that as well. It is about getting their skills sharp and by Sunday and Monday I expect them to be at 100 per cent. It’s just a case of them getting back into it today.

“It has never been dealt with before, it will be a big challenge for us, but having said that we are here to play some cricket and that’s the key for everyone.


“[We must] stick together. We lost a family member from our cricket community. It is a case of rallying round each other, his family and the whole CA [Cricket Australia] family, and getting on with what we do well – and that’s playing  some cricket.”

Of the 13-man squad, only Michael Clarke was absent from practice, with a hamstring injury. He is set to take part in practice today, but Shaun Marsh has been called in as cover for the Australia captain.