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Emotional Australian captain speaks of 'deep pain' over Phillip Hughes


Australia cricket captain Michael Hughes

Australia cricket captain Michael Hughes

Australia cricket captain Michael Hughes

A visibly upset Australia captain Michael Clarke has said the team were in deep pain at the death of Phillip Hughes.

Hughes' died on Thursday as a result of the injuries sustained during a Sheffield Shield game, when the South Australia batsman was struck on the neck by a bouncer from New South Wales paceman Sean Abbott on Tuesday and has left a nation in mourning.

In tribute to the left-hander, a grief-stricken Clarke said Cricket Australia has accepted a request to retire the ODI shirt number of Hughes, who made 25 appearances in the 50-over format to add to his 26 Test caps.

Speaking on behalf of the Australian team and the support staff, Clarke said at a press conference: "Words can not express the loss we all feel as a team right now. To Greg, Virginia (his parents), Jason and Megan (his siblings) we share the deep pain that you're feeling.

"Last night, I asked Cricket Australia if Hughesy's Australian one-day international shirt number, 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.

"Our dressing room will never be the same, we loved him and always will."



It was the first time Clarke had spoken publicly since reading out a statement just hours after his close friend's death had been announced.

And in an emotional address at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the 33-year-old paid tribute to Hughes' spirit and vowed to honour his memory.

"Apart from when he was home on the farm with his beloved cattle, Hughesy was at his happiest playing cricket for his country with his mates," he said.

"Things were always put into perspective when Hughesy said: 'Where else would you rather be, boys, than playing cricket for your country?'

"We're going to miss that cheeky grin and that twinkle in his eye. He epitomised what that Baggy Green is about and what it meant to us all.

"The world lost one of its great blokes this week and we are all the poorer for it. Our promise to Hughesy's family is that we will do everything we can to honour his memory."

Clarke made no mention of whether Australia would take to the field against India in the first Test at Brisbane, which is due to get under way next Thursday but is now in doubt of going ahead following this week's events.

But Ricky Ponting, whom Clarke succeeded as national team captain, believes it would be unfair on the players to proceed with the game.

"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," he wrote in a column for News Limited newspapers on Saturday.

"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."

Online Editors