Why Australia need Clarke out on field

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 30 November 2014 | 23.08

Australian skipper Michael Clarke has made an emotional statement on behalf of the players after the tragic passing of Phillip Hughes.

Michael Clarke's courageous leadership is just what Australia needs on the field against India. Source: Getty Images

Michael Clarke has stood tall in the most trying of circumstances, and Australia hopes the courageous leadership role played by the captain can extend to him taking the field against India next week.

A final decision on when the Brisbane Test will be postponed to is expected on Monday, but it's almost certain the series will now start at Adelaide Oval, the last home ground for South Australian batsman Phillip Hughes before his tragic passing.

The Gabba Test looks set to be slotted in later in the summer, which would require adjusting other parts of the schedule.

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Cricket Australia were hoping for an announcement on Sunday, but after another 24 hours of earnest discussion and telephone hook-ups, time differences with India delayed them getting the final approval they need from the BCCI.

For reasons both emotional and physical, no one is asking Clarke to rush back to playing before he's ready.

But the bravery Clarke has displayed on behalf of the Hughes family and teammates this week reflects how important his presence would be to the psyche of a grieving Australian team when the time comes for them to return to Test cricket.

Tributes for Phil Hughes continue to arrive at Adelaide Oval. Source: News Corp Australia

Clarke spent yesterday morning paying birthday tributes to his 'brother' Hughes, who would have turned 26.

The pair were as close as two teammates could be, and at the moment Clarke — like many other Australian players — hasn't even comprehended how he's going to get back on the horse.

The other, far less important issue, pertains to Clarke's injured hamstring.

Clarke wasn't going to be fit to play the Brisbane Test in any case, however he and medical staff were quietly confident he could make a comeback in Adelaide if his left hamstring continued to show improvement.

However, for obvious reasons, Clarke hasn't had a chance to continue his rehabilitation program over the past few days.

Former Australian bowler Brendon Julian has called on the public to support the country's domestic cricketers following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes.

The skipper barely left the side of Hughes and his family at St Vincent's Hospital, and since then has been grieving with teammates and friends at the SCG.

Clarke completed a gym session with trainer and close friend Duncan Kerr at the SCG on Saturday after the gruelling ordeal of fronting the media to read a tribute to Hughes on behalf of players.

The 33-year-old has only had one chance to see his physiotherapist and with Hughes' funeral on Wednesday in Macksville, it goes without saying Clarke's hamstring is the least of his concerns.

It would be premature to predict whether Clarke would be physically fit for Adelaide, let alone emotionally prepared — given the deeply personal relationship he's shared with the Hughes family.

Phillip Hughes is honoured on the scoreboard at Adelaide Oval. Source: News Corp Australia

Before and after Clarke showed enormous strength to sit in front of cameras and read his heartfelt message to Hughes, the skipper sat with friends in the SCG dressing rooms and shared stories about the hard-working, cheeky left-hander who came down from the country to join him at Western Suburbs all those years ago.

Clarke scrolled through photos and videos of some of the great times he and Hughes shared on the road together.

On Sunday, Clarke posted many of those images on social media as he recognised Hughes' birthday.

The rest of the Australian squad is spending time at home with their families before they will all congregate in Macksville for the funeral.

The New Zealand cricket community continues to mourn Phillip Hughes, with skipper Brendon McCullum reading a statement before the start of play on day three of the third Test against Pakistan.

A date for the squad to assemble and begin preparations for Adelaide would likely be made after that.

Australia has some strong leaders in its set-up, including Brad Haddin — who was set to become a Test captain in Brisbane before tragedy struck.

David Warner and Steve Smith are also tough characters.

But Haddin and Warner were in Hughes' immediate vicinity when he was felled by that fateful bouncer, and the trauma of what they witnessed can't be underestimated.

Smith was a long-time teammate of Hughes and has also been deeply distressed.

The first Test match is going to be an incomprehensible struggle for Australian players, and whether he plays or not, Clarke will be required to continue leading from the front.

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