Micheal Clarke gave a tearful tribute at Phillip Hughes funeral on 3rd December. The funeral took place at Phillip Hughes’ hometown in Macksville, Australia.
“He’d definitely be calling me a sook right now, that’s for sure,” Clarke said before a deep breath and launching into his speech, in which he talked about the spirit – of Hughes, of cricket, and of how they were now forever intertwined.
“I keep looking for him,” said Clarke. “I know it’s crazy but I expect any minute to take a call from him or to see his face pop around the corner.
“Is this what we call the spirit? If so then his spirit is still with me and I hope it never leaves.
“I walked to the middle of the SCG on Thursday night … those same blades of grass beneath my feet where he and I and so many of his mates here today had built partnerships, taken chances and lived out the dreams we painted in our heads as boys.
“I stood there at the wicket, I kneeled down and touched the grass. I swear he was with me, picking me up to my feet to check if I was ok, telling me we we just needed to ‘dig in, get through to tea’, telling me off for that loose shot I played, chatting about what movie we might watch that night, and then passing on a useless fact about cows.”
Clarke spoke of the extra significance the SCG now held for him, and how he had been lifted by the worldwide outpouring of emotion and tributes, and the support from his “band of Baggy Green brothers and sisters that have held me upright when I thought I could not proceed”.
“Is this what we call the spirit of cricket?” Clarke asked.
“From the little girl in Karachi holding a candlelight tribute to masters of the game like Tendulkar, Warne, and Lara, showing their grief to the world, that spirit of cricket is holding us together.
“We feel it in the thrill of a cover drive or taking a screamer at gully. Whether by a 12-year-old boy in Worcester or by Brendon McCullum in Dubai.
“It’s in the brilliant 100 or the five-wicket haul, just as significant to the players in a Western Suburbs club game as it is in a Test match.
“The bonds that lead to cricketers from around the world putting their bats out. It saw people who didn’t even know Phillip lay flowers at the gates of Lord’s. It lead to every cricketing nation on earth to make its own heartfelt triubte.
“The bonds that saw players old and new to rush to his bedside when they heard the news to say their prayers and farewells. This is what makes our game the greatest game in the world.
“Phillip’s spirit, which is now part of our game forever, will act as a custodian for the game we love. We must listen to it, we must cherish it, we must learn from it.
“We must dig in and get through to tea. And we must play on.
“So rest in peace, my little brother, I’ll see you out in the middle.”