Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Tag: phillip hughes

Michael Clarke : Three Moments

Michael Clarke is about to play his last cricket Test. Sadly, he will leave the game as an Ashes losing Test captain regardless of the result.

For many people that will be his legacy. For some, this is the time to criticise and to bring up the past.  But not for me.

Here are the three moments of Michael Clarke that I will treasure in ascending order.

First was that magnificent innings of 329. Apart from the score, he never looked like getting out.  But there was more. He never looked like he would stop batting.

Second was his beautiful and sad eulogy to his little brother Phillip Hughes. There was in that moment, a man who had lost but showed also how much he gave.

Third and most treasured was the first time I ever saw Clarke captain a side.  It was at Perth and he was suddenly placed in charge of the Australia T20 side. I had the sound turned off (it’s the best way to watch cricket). I have no idea what he said to his players so I relied on the body language. But everyone he spoke to stood a little taller and played a little better.

And that’s what cricket and leadership is all about.

Michael Clarke : Three Moments

Michael Clarke is about to play his last cricket Test. Sadly, he will leave the game as an Ashes losing Test captain regardless of the result.

For many people that will be his legacy. For some, this is the time to criticise and to bring up the past.  But not for me.

Here are the three moments of Michael Clarke that I will treasure in ascending order.

First was that magnificent innings of 329. Apart from the score, he never looked like getting out.  But there was more. He never looked like he would stop batting.

Second was his beautiful and sad eulogy to his little brother Phillip Hughes. There was in that moment, a man who had lost but showed also how much he gave.

Third and most treasured was the first time I ever saw Clarke captain a side.  It was at Perth and he was suddenly placed in charge of the Australia T20 side. I had the sound turned off (it’s the best way to watch cricket). I have no idea what he said to his players so I relied on the body language. But everyone he spoke to stood a little taller and played a little better.

And that’s what cricket and leadership is all about.

Go for the Zac : Goodbye Phillip Hughes

Cricket is at times a lonely and solitary game. At least I thought so.

You bat by yourself.  You bowl by yourself. You stand in the field waiting for a catch, then run after the ball and throw it back. By yourself.

Waiting for a catch or the chance to run after the ball can seem like an eternity meaning fielding is the longest waiting game. As a parent said to me during an under 16s game, “Cricket is a team game played by individuals”. True but there’s more to it than that.

And certainly with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes (who remains 63 not out forever), I felt that cricket is a lonely and solitary game.

I didn’t want to pick up a bat or bowl or field anymore. I didn’t want to watch or listen to the latest T20 or one day or test match. I didn’t even want to put my bat out. But I did. FullSizeRender (1)

I felt I had lost another who knew the storms and sunshine that is cricket.

Then I listened to Michael Clarke’s eulogy at Phillip Hughes’ funeral. It opened my eyes and my heart and my memory.

Cricket isn’t a lonely and solitary game at all. I remembered that for too short a season, with a mate, I coached an under 14s boys side.

Some were exuberant, some were talented, some were sorely disappointed and then rewarded. I went through it all with them. I knew what it was like. I had experienced the same myself. In that season, I realized that that cricket wasn’t a game of physical ability or talent but a game of heart and mind.

And extraordinary fun. I can remember being on the sideline as the fast bowler from Croatia encouraged the batsman from Vietnam to “Go for the zac.” (Hit six runs).  Which he did! And I laughed and laughed.

What I had forgotten and what Phillip Hughes and Michael Clarke together reminded me was this.

Everyone who picks up a bat or bowls a ball or fields or ‘keeps are part of  a band of brothers and sisters. We’ve all been through the same storms and sunshine and we all know what it’s like for anyone else who plays.

We all know what its like to go for the zac and succeed or fail.

That is Phillip Hughes’ legacy. Thank you for rekindling my love of cricket. Rest in Peace but go for the zac!

The Hidden Game Of Cricket (Thoughts On Phillip Hughes)

The terrible injury to Phillip Hughes gives some small insight to the hidden game of cricket.

Cricket is seen so often seen as played in a village green. Players just seem to be standing around suspended in a state of ennui. Then the spell is broken. The quiet tap of bat and ball followed by quiet applause.

Or cricket too is seen as baseball on steroids. Our radio and TV is so dominated by the hit-a-thon of T20 or one-day cricket or even indoor cricket. All we see is an action packed blur of players bowling, batting, catching, throwing and running.

Or cricket too is seen through the lens of Test cricket the ultimate physical and psychological long march.

Yet the Phillip Hughes incident as revealed by Malcolm Knox shows cricket has its hidden physical dangers. As anyone who has played the game even casually knows, even a tennis ball hurts and leaves its mark. And even despite the improved protective equipment, players still get hurt.

As Russell Jackson mentions, there’s a psychological impact. Perhaps this thought experiment may suffice.

Imagine someone gives you a piece of wood or a stick. Then he or she runs about 30 or 40 or 50 metres away. Then they run towards you. At about 20 metres they throw a ball at you.  You’re meant to hit the ball and not let it hit you.

In essence and in spite of physical and mental fitness, technique and judgement, protective equipment or rules, cricket is a scary game.

One false move and you’re out or hurt or worse.

The hidden game of cricket is to accept the risk and setbacks and continue to play on. Knowing full well what happened before or could happen again.

Which is why Phillip Hughes is braver than you’ll ever know.

My sincere wish as a former player of virtually no note is that he recovers quickly and returns to the game. And be courageous than he was before because he will have to.

And continue to play the hidden game of cricket.

 

 

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