ADELAIDE: In the minds of the cricket lovers, Phillip Hughes will remain ’63 Not Out Forever’ but on Tuesday the departed cricketer was named his national team’s “13th man” as the first cricket Test between India and Australia started here on an emotional note.
As Australia named their playing XI for the match, pacer Josh Hazlewood was listed as the 12th man and the players wanted to include Hughes’ name as the 13th man in the list.Ten days back, cricket world struck by tragedy when Hughes passed away after failing to recover being hit by a Sean Abbott bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game. An entire nation went into mourning.
As the on-field action commenced today, it was all about celebrating the life of the ever-smiling Hughes with everyone present at the Adelaide Oval applauding in unison for exactly 63 seconds.Incidentally, Hughes was batting on 63 when he was struck by Abbott’s bouncer.
As a mark of respect, both teams wore black arm-bands. The entire Australian side had ‘408’ inscribed in their white jerseys. The number is significant as Hughes was the 408th cricketer to play in Tests for Australia.”It’s really special. His family, I think that would make them very proud,” Mitchell Johnson was quoted as saying by a sports website.
“I’m very proud to be able to wear that number through this Test. We’ve named him as the 13th man as well. It’s all very special.”Rival captains Virat Kohli and Michael Clarke also remembered him during the toss.”What’s most important and what I know my little buddy would want is going out and playing cricket,” Clarke said at the toss.
Kohli remembered how he had become friends with Hughes during Australia’s last ODI tour of India.”I knew Phillip. He was one of the guys, I spoke to more than most (of the other Aussie players). He (Hughes) asked for my bat in a home game in Jaipur (October 2013) and I wish I’d given it to him,” Kohli said.
Johnson, on his part, admitted that it would be a bit difficult to bowl the first spell after a turbulent week but he expects things to eventually fall into place.”It’s going to be an emotional morning and probably looking at it from our first little part of the game, for me going out there and bowling the first spell might be the most difficult,” the speedster added.