Michael Clarke is the man for turmoil

How much more does Michael Clarke have to do to win over the knockers?. Image via ABC Grandstand Sport.

What more can Michael Clarke do to win over the knockers? Image via ABC Grandstand Sport.

The Roar: How many times in the last week or so have you heard someone say, or read someone’s comment, “Michael Clarke has really grown in my estimations,” or something similar?

Clarke has proved himself to the doubters – again – over this last fortnight, and the way he’s handled himself in what is obviously a tough emotional period is clearly inspiring his teammates. You can hear that in Brad Haddin and Shane Watson’s words over the weekend.

I said last week that I was sure Clarke will play at the Adelaide Oval, and I’m also quite sure that his superb leadership throughout all this will get all his teammates on the field tomorrow, too.

We’ve mourned and farewelled – now it’s time to play

PH408 farewellThe Roar: Phillip Hughes’ moving farewell on Wednesday doesn’t close the book on the loss of this prodigious talent, but it should be the point of realisation that it’s time to get back on the park.

The four-test series against India has been heavily rescheduled, with only the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne unaffected. The next round of Sheffield Shield games were pushed from today back to next Tuesday, and the first two games of the one-day Tri-Series were also swapped.

Phillip Hughes' NSW, Australian, and SA caps, from the service in Macksville on Wednesday. Images: ABC Grandstand

Phillip Hughes’ NSW, Australian, and SA caps, from the service in Macksville on Wednesday. Images: ABC Grandstand

Just yesterday it was announced that four Big Bash League games had been shuffled around, stemming from a flow-on clash between the rescheduled Sydney Test, and the second of the Sydney BBL derbies.

But it is time for the players to get back on the park. And I think that realisation came on Wednesday in Macksville.

People just aren’t supposed to die playing cricket

63 not out: The concern on the NSW players was immediate when Phil Hughes was struck by a garden-variety bouncer on Tuesday in Sydney. He never regained consciousness, and died yesterday afternoon, aged 25. Image: ABC Grandstand

Phil Hughes made an outstanding hundred on ODI debut in Melbourne last Friday night. Image: ABC Grandstand

Phil Hughes made an outstanding hundred on ODI debut in Melbourne, January 2013. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: The news of Phillip Hughes’ passing has rocked me like few other sporting tragedies in my lifetime. Like many current and former batsmen of any level over the past few days, I suspect, I’ve been reliving more than a few deliveries that came my way over my time in the game.

One of the wonderful things about cricket is that the game remains the same throughout the levels. The speed and the ability might increase as you go up the grades, but the experience of facing and dealing with short-pitched bowling is exactly the same: see it, get into position, play the shot, or leave it alone.

In truth, I rarely had to worry about many getting up above my shoulders in the middle grades I played. And that meant that except for very rare occasions, I batted without a helmet in games.

And this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few days. I never, ever felt in danger, but I suddenly feel very, very lucky.

Because people aren’t supposed to die playing cricket