No England presence as cricket gathers to mourn tragic Hughes

 
Ross McLean
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THE England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will not be officially represented when the sporting world falls silent at the funeral service of Australia Test batsman Phillip Hughes in his hometown of Macksville tomorrow.

England are currently in the midst of a seven-match one-day international series in Sri Lanka and any members of the travelling party would likely miss two matches had they attended the ceremony.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke is also currently in the subcontinent and is set to attend tomorrow’s third one-day international in Hambantota at the invitation of Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

England Test opener Sam Robson and former international batsman Nick Compton are expected to join fellow mourners in northern New South Wales to pay their final respects to a former team-mate.

Robson played junior state cricket for New South Wales alongside Hughes while Compton shared a flat with the Australian during his 2009 stint with Middlesex ahead of that year’s Ashes series in England.

The ECB is expected to send a senior official to the subsequent state funeral for Hughes, who died on Thursday after being struck on the neck by a short-pitched delivery while batting for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, although a date is yet to be confirmed.

Hughes’ adopted home ground of Adelaide, meanwhile, will now host the first match in Australia’s four-Test contest with tourists India as cricket bosses yesterday postponed the start of the series until 9 December with players’ welfare the principal concern.

The Brisbane Test will begin on 17 December although the traditional Boxing Day match in Melbourne remains unchanged, while the game in Sydney now starts on 6 January.