SYDNEY - A day after he choked back tears addressing the media on behalf of his team, Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke has opened up on his own feelings about the death of his "brother" Phillip Hughes.
Hughes died on Thursday, two days after he was struck in the head by a short-pitched delivery during a first class game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The lefthander's death has created an outpouring of grief and emotion from even outside the cricketing world, while Cricket Australia have postponed the first test against India, which was scheduled to start next Thursday.
"I don't have a blood brother, but I am very proud to have called Phillip my brother," Clarke wrote in a column for the Sunday Telegraph on what would have been Hughes's 26th birthday.
"I am a better man for having known him. I don't think in 12 years of playing cricket at the top level I have ever come across a more loyal or generous-hearted team mate. "Whenever Hughesy suffered adversity, if he was replaced in the team or if he wasn't scoring as many runs as he wanted he never dropped his head, never once complained.
"If he had a tough conversation with a selector he would nod, agree he needed to work harder, grin because he felt bad for the person delivering the message and then get on with it."
Clarke, who is battling a hamstring injury and would have likely been replaced by Hughes in the test side for the Dec. 4-8 game at the Gabba, was a virtual constant at his bedside until he died and his raw emotions were displayed for the world to see at the media conference on Saturday.
Several times Clarke paused as his emotions threatened to get away from him and at one stage he was heard to say under his breath 'do your job', before he continued reading a prepared statement on behalf of his team.
Clarke said he had been compelled to write the column to "shine a bit more light" on the type of man Hughes was, painting the picture of an uncomplicated player with a burning desire to represent his country and an "amazing talent".
"I said a couple of months ago that I had no doubt Phillip would have gone on to play 100 tests, such was his determination and skill," Clarke added of Hughes, who despite having played 26 tests found himself in and out of the team.
"When he was last dropped from the Australian team he knuckled down, worked on parts of his technique that he felt could be improved and he peeled off century after century for South Australia. "He lit up like a beacon again for the selectors to not help but notice."