Michael Clarke has claimed that he should have stopped playing cricket after Philip Hughes' unfortunate death on the cricket ground as he was too distracted to play the game after that. He also added that 2015 West Indies tour was the worst tour of his life as it was an emotional phase for him.
After Ricky Ponting, Clarke was the man who took the responsibility of Australian cricket team. In his eleven years of representing Australia, he played 115 Tests and 245 ODIs for the Kangaroos in which he scored 8643 and 7981 runs respectively. But, he saw many ups and downs before he announced his retirement in August 2015 after losing his good friend Hughes, in 2014.
Before the tragic accident, the 36-year-old played 107 Tests in which he scored 8297 runs at an average of 50.59. But the trauma affected him to such an extent that in the following eight games that he played he could only manage 346 runs at an average of 28.83.
"I shouldn't have played another game. My career should have stopped then. It was too hard for me," he said as quoted by AFP.
"It took me a lot longer to grieve his loss than it should have, or that I would have liked. I didn't allow myself to grieve at the time because I had the responsibility to his family, firstly, but then also as Australia's cricket captain to my teammates and getting us back out onto the field."
Hughes' accident started a huge debate over the safety of players while batting. Clarke claimed that after the incident, for the first time in his life, he felt fear while playing cricket.
"My greatest strength as a small boy growing up and all through my career was that I was never scared. The faster they bowled, the easier it would be to score. I liked batting without a helmet on occasions; they'd bowl at your head and I'd love playing the hook or the pull shot.
"Even if it was just my subconscious, when I lost one of my best mates playing the game that we love, I think my subconscious worked out that you can actually die playing this sport. Even if it was the smallest bit of fear, you can't play at the highest level like that," Clarke said
The right-hand batsman also considered the West Indies tour which took place in June as the worst of his career despite winning the series.
"Going to the West Indies was probably the worst tour of my life in regards to how emotional I was. I was there on my own.
Clarke cleared that he has failed to overcome the pain Hughes' passing and the loss is still raw in his mind. But he mentioned that his family supported him during his low phase which has helped him a lot over the years.
"I still have days regularly where it's heart-breaking. It's still raw … the emotion and pain
Clarke hung up his boots in 2015 after the final Test of the Ashes series against England and to continue his engagement with the game he joined Channel Nine as a commentator and whilst running the Michael Clarke Cricket Academy as well.
"I was asked this year to play cricket for my club but I said no. I feel the businesses, the commentary and my academy keep me close enough to cricket without wanting to be back on the field."