James Forsyth

In praise of Michael Clarke

In praise of Michael Clarke
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The cricketing world has begun its slow trudge back to normality. Phillip Hughes has been buried and conversation has, half-heartedly, began to turn back to the game itself. Australia will take the field at Hughes’ adopted home ground of Adelaide on Tuesday for a Test match against India.

But it would be remiss to let this week pass without praise for Michael Clarke and the dignity that he has shown as he has led the game and Australia in mourning the death of a young man who was on the verge on fulfilling his great talent. As Alex said the other day, to anyone who has played cricket at any level there was something particularly moving about Hughes' death.

It is often said that the Australian cricket captain is the second most important person in the country behind the Prime Minister, their equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Clarke, who has had his Prince Hal like moments in the past, has more than risen to this role these past few weeks. He has shown a strength of character and displayed a strength of leadership that is admirable in the extreme. His eulogy to Hughes was a fine piece of Australian prose, moving without being mawkish.

When Clarke walks out to bat in the Ashes next summer, let us all rise to a fine cricketer and a better man.