Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
In a loving tribute to batsman Phillip Hughes, Australian captain Michael Clarke fought back tears as he said “our dressing room will never be the same”.
Clarke was visibly distraught as he also revealed that Hughes’ No. 64 ODI shirt will be retired out of respect for his deceased friend and team-mate.
“Words cannot express how we feel as a team right now. To Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan, we share in the deep pain that you’re feeling,” Clarke said. “Apart from when he was at home on the farm with his beloved cattle, Hughesy was at his happiest playing cricket for his country with his mates. Things were all put into perspective when Hughesy said ‘where else would you rather be boys, but playing cricket for your country’.
“We’re going to miss that cheeky grin and that twinkle in his eye. He epitomised what the baggy green is about and what it means to us all. The world lost one of its great blokes this week, and we are all poorer for it. Our promise to Hughesy’s family is that we will do everything we can to honour his memory. Last night I asked Cricket Australia if Hughesy’s Australian one day international shirt No. 64, could be retired, to which they agreed. That means so much.
“His legacy of trying to improve each and every day will drive us for the rest of our lives. We’d like to thank everyone both here and overseas for the touching tributes to Hughesy in recent days. Our dressing room will never be the same. We loved him and always will. Rest in peace, Bruzzy.”
Following the tragedy, there has been a lot of debate about whether Australia’s first Test against India, which is scheduled to get underway on December 4 in Brisbane, should go ahead as planned or be cancelled.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes that none of the players will be in the right frame of mind if the first Test does go ahead.
“It’s been such a tragic week for the Hughes family and the cricket community and I can’t imagine how anybody can be expected to play Test cricket on Thursday,” Ponting wrote in the Weekend Australian. “In fact I don’t think it would be right. Even if the boys think they can play, it would be a miracle if they find the right frame of mind needed for five days of cricket.”
Ex-India batsman Sunil Gavaskar agreed with Ponting’s view, and told NDTV: “I guess it’s something the boards will have to look at. The first Test is almost a week away but I am sure nobody would be in a mood to play. Nobody would be in the right frame of mind.”
However, legendary Australia batsman Allan Border feels that the players would be better off playing the match since it will help them think about something else.
“My personal view is that rather than sitting around I think they might be better off playing,” Border told Fox Sports. “It would be very difficult, I’m not shying away from that. Sitting around in your room you’re going to be thinking about it 24/7.”