The welfare of Australia’s players, who are grieving after Phillip Hughes’s death on Thursday, remains the top priority for the peak body, even if it throws the summer’s fixture list into uncertainty.
Fixturing usually starts 12 months in advance and is so complicated it has been previously described as “playing chess in three dimensions”, highlighting the difficulties cricket authorities are now facing.
The fate of the Brisbane Test is expected to be decided on Monday but it is looking increasingly unlikely it will be played this week – though officials are still exploring the possibility of the match being pushed back by one or two days.
Logistically, this would shape as the easiest solution, but there are serious concerns that would not provide Australia’s players enough time to recover emotionally from Hughes’s funeral on Wednesday in order to prepare to play a five-day game.
Gabba curator Kevin Mitchell has stopped his preparations for the pitch after the announcement on the weekend the Test would be postponed.
That would leave Hughes’s adopted home of Adelaide as host of the first Test. It could also provide captain Michael Clarke, who would have missed Brisbane due to his hamstring injury, the opportunity to play in Australia’s first match since Hughes’s death.
Squeezing the game in between the Adelaide Test, which is scheduled to finish on December 16, and the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne was considered but is regarded as a long shot.
Moving the Brisbane Test into the new year after the Sydney Test was being seriously considered though that would create a fixture clash with the start of the one-day international tri-series and the Big Bash League.
Should this scenario eventuate, the match could be held from a January 11-15 but that would require the first one-dayer in Melbourne, scheduled to be played in Melbourne on January 16, to be moved.