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SCG to honour late Phillip Hughes with bronze plaque


Sydney, Dec 31: As Australian cricketers return to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the first time since the death of Phillip Hughes – the life of their fallen teammate will be commemorated with a bronze plaque to be unveiled at the ground at which he burst onto the scene and then met his tragic fate.

It is five weeks since the cricket world was rocked by the passing of the 25-year-old batsman who was struck on the helmet by a short-pitched delivery while batting for South Australia against his former team New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The accident remains very raw for his former Australian teammates, several of whom were close by in the field when he collapsed. Chief coach Darren Lehmann admits he is uncertain how they will handle the emotional return to the venue for next week's fourth Test against India.

Lehmann is unsure how his players would cope.

"I don't know. They'll be fine, they're back in the contest, that's all good and [in] Adelaide they were a little bit quiet. From my point of view, we've got to have a couple days off now and try to get through that over the next few days," Lehmann said.

"I'm sure it's in the back of their minds and everyone's mind's around Australia. For us we've just got to get on with playing the game as best we can. I actually don't know how they'll react. We have to see how we react."

The question of how best to honour the life and career of Hughes during the match has been the subject of discussions between his family and Cricket Australia (CA) before the delayed start to the New Year's Test next Tuesday.

The Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust is preparing to have a plaque featuring a small bust of Hughes placed on the front wall of the members' pavilion outside the home dressing room Monday.

Sixty-three bats, individually etched with images from Hughes' career, will also be affixed to the outside upper tier of the members' stand, having lined the way out to the pitch when more than 4,000 people visited the ground on the day of his funeral in Macksville. The number represents the score, 63 not out, that he was on when his life was cruelly cut short.

There also will be a small exhibition in the SCG Museum featuring some of the tributes the public made to Hughes.

The plaque above the players' race will include details of Hughes' career at the SCG, where he made his first-class debut for NSW in 2007 and played his first Test on Australian soil, against Pakistan in 2010.

Having reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Melbourne, Australia's players will face another challenge in returning to the ground for the first time as a team.

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