AUSSIE cricketing great Doug Walters is confident Australia's shell-shocked cricketers will emerge from the depths of this week's Phillip Hughes tragedy to pad up for Thursday's First Test at the Gabba.
Walters was in Toowoomba yesterday as guest speaker at the Australian Institute of Company Directors end-of-year luncheon at the Empire Church Theatre.
He obligingly offered his thoughts to The Chronicle on what has been one of the most emotional and extraordinary weeks in Australian sporting history.
The outpouring of grief from around the world following Hughes' death on Thursday is on a scale rarely seen.
The mood surrounding his freak and untimely death is now threatening next week's scheduled First Test between Australia and an equally sombre Indian team.
Cricket Australia is yet to meet and discuss the fate of the match.
The feelings and media comments from former players are divided on whether the game should proceed, be delayed or scrapped.
"I hope they do play. But it's too early (to decide)," Walters said.
"I haven't heard about the funeral arrangement or anything like that and obviously the guys would all want to be part of that service.
"But I would like to think players wouldn't pull out. I think Phillip would have wanted them to play."
Dungog-born Walters went on to carve out a legendary career at the crease.
His emergence as a teenager has drawn comparisons with Hughes's country beginning and dashing style.
"I met him a couple of times and he seemed a nice little guy," Walters said.
"It's a great pity. I think it was only a matter of time before he was back in that side. Unfortunately that's not going to happen now.
"He was a young guy from the country like I was and starting off in the vein he did scoring so many hundreds - first class hundreds - at such an early age was the thing that struck me about him."