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Cricketers to don armbands as mark of respect

BALLARAT cricketers will wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence before play on Saturday to honour Australian batsman Phillip Hughes.

St Patrick’s College and Ballarat Clarendon College cricketers put out their bats to honour Australian batsman Phillip Hughes.

The tributes will be enacted across all Ballarat Cricket Association junior and senior grades in home-and-away matches.

BCA operations manager Brett Severino said most clubs had already planned or asked ways they could honour Hughes, who died on Thursday after failing to regain consciousness after being struck by a ball when batting in Sheffield Shield action at the SCG two days earlier.

“All clubs have definitely been really supportive – Wendouree had already put a (message) out to players to don black armbands and a few other clubs were doing the same,” Severino said.

“What happened has affected everyone even though we didn’t know (Hughes) personally. He was playing the same sport and it was an incident that nobody could control.”

Ballarat cricket fans, and the BCA, have joined in a growing, global social media trend to place a cricket bat by the front door and share the image with the hashtag #putoutyourbats as a mark of respect.

Neighbouring St Patrick’s and Ballarat Clarendon colleges’ cricketers put out their bats and hats in unity in the schoolyard on Friday and observed a minute’s silence together.

Australian Olympic cycling champion Anna Meares, former England captain Michael Vaughan and former Australian cricketer Dean Jones are among those to put out their bats – an initiative started by a Sydney cricket fan.

Cricket Australia put 63 bats on display in its Jolimont headquarters.

The number represents the score Hughes was on when he was hit.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland issued a statement on Thursday night encouraging clubs to continue with fixture matches at the weekend.

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“We know that Phillip would encourage you to celebrate the game of cricket

with your mates over the weekend,” Sutherland said.

“We ask you to do that in tribute to Phillip Hughes – whether that’s getting creative with writing his (Australian Test cap)

number 408 on the outfield, wearing a black armband or having a moment’s silence after the toss.

“Celebrate his great achievements and the contribution he made to our game.”

Cricket Australia also recommended the retirement score

in junior cricket be 63 runs this round, rather than the traditional 50, in tribute to Hughes’ last game.

The BCA has decided against enforcing this in its junior ranks this round, but Severino

said the association could consider it in the future.

All Sydney grade cricket matches have been cancelled this weekend, but a decision has not been made

on the next round of Sheffield Shield fixtures, which are due to start next Friday.

It is still unclear whether the first Test against India will begin as scheduled in Brisbane on Thursday.

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