Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has paid tribute to his “little brother” Phillip Hughes in a column for The Sunday Telegraph today “to shine a bit more light onto Phillip” on what would have been his 26th birthday.
In his opening few words Clarke articulates the question on the thoughts of Australians and cricket fans around the world: “I struggled to comprehend how this tragedy could happen to one of life’s true characters and gentlemen.”
He says while Hughes has exceptional cricketing abilities, they played “second fiddle to the human qualities that he exhibited”.
“Loyal to a fault, eternally optimistic, kind hearted, wicked sense of humour, a child like verve for life … I really could go on and on,” he writes.
He says Hughes was “what you see is what you got”, and while he suffered adversity … he never dropped his head, never once complained.”
“You knew deep down he was shattered because playing cricket for his country meant everything to him,” Clarke writes.
“But his head wouldn’t drop because he knew his team mates didn’t need that — he was honoured to be running drinks as 12th man for his mates and he went out of his way to show that.”
Clarke continues by saying he had no doubt the 25-year-old, who had already achieved 26 centuries during his career, would have made it 27 at the SCG on Tuesday.
He reflects on Hughes love of the country and his passion for cattle and livestock, and jokingly adds his love of Clarke’s secret stash of licorice.
He concludes by saying that his friend and team mate was taken away far too soon, but his attitude to life and the achievements he had made showed he had lived a crowded hour.
“I am a better man for having known him.
“Vale Hugh Dog. I will miss you forever, but I will not forget.
“Happy birthday bro.”
Read the full column in The Sunday Telegraph.
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