Australia’s distraught captain Michael Clarke has spoken about Phillip Hughes on behalf of the national team, revealing that his No. 64 ODI shirt will be retired out of respect for their departed friend and teammate.
Clarke spoke for around two and a half minutes, promising “I’ll do my best” and fighting back tears with almost every sentence. During these moments it was difficult to imagine the Australian team turning out for a Test match in Brisbane as soon as Thursday next week - Clarke’s predecessor Ricky Ponting has stated he does not think they can.
“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.”
Clarke paused longest before uttering the words “our dressing room will never be the same”. Knowing this, Ponting has expressed his belief that the first Test against India should not go ahead as scheduled.