Sydney: Australia`s opening Test against India next week is in danger of being called off after the death of Phillip Hughes, although cricket greats said the gritty batsman would want it to go ahead.
Preparations for the clash in Brisbane, due to start next Thursday, have taken a back seat since Hughes was hit by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield game between South Australia and New South Wales in Sydney on Tuesday.
His shock death from the resulting rare head injury on Thursday cast further doubt over the game with many in the Australia side being close friends of the talented left-hander and struggling to cope with the tragedy.
The second day`s play in the third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates was abandoned Thursday as mark of respect while India`s tour game against a Cricket Australia XI due to start in Adelaide on Friday was cancelled.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said Hughes would have wanted the Gabba Test to go on, and that playing may be the "best thing" for those mourning him.
"In a strange way it will be probably the best thing that they go out to train and play in a game," he told Fox Sports.
"At least while you are on the field or in the nets you will have something else to concentrate on. Because every moment you are off the field you are going to be thinking about Phillip Hughes and what happened.
"It was the right thing to do to cancel the Shield round (this week) but I think ... Phillip would want the game to go on," he added.Four of those named in the Test squad -- David Warner, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon -- were on the field when Hughes collapsed and rushed to his side.
Warner`s father Howard told the Sydney Daily Telegraph ahead of Hughes` death that: "Dave is just shattered. He and Phil have been good mates for a while now. I spoke to Dave briefly... he`s doing it tough."
A stream of players went to St Vincent`s Hospital to stand vigil beside Hughes while he was in an induced coma, and many were in tears after learning that he died.
Captain Michael Clarke was at his close friend`s side almost continuously and read an emotional statement from the Hughes family after his death.
Another former captain, Allan Border, agreed that Hughes would have wanted the Test to go ahead.
"There will be guys, particularly the guys that were out on the field at the time that are named in the Test squad, they mightn`t be feeling like playing cricket at the moment," Border told Fox Sports, before news broke of Hughes` death.
"You`d understand if they wanted to pull out. But I think the game should go ahead. I get the feeling that Phillip would want the game to go ahead."
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said it was too early to make a decision.
"To be honest, the Test match next week, we haven`t thought that far ahead and we really don`t think it is appropriate at this time," he said.
"The whole of Australian cricket is grieving, and all we want to do is provide the Hughes family all the support we possibly can right now."