Sydney - Former Australia captain Michael Clarke says he
should have retired a year earlier than he did, admitting he struggled badly
after the death of his friend and team-mate Phillip Hughes.
Clarke quit in 2015 after his 115th and final Test of the
Ashes series against England and said he didn't allow himself to grieve at the
Hughes, who played 26 Tests, died from bleeding on the brain
in November 2014 after being hit on the neck by a rising ball while batting in
a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"I shouldn't have played another game. My career should
have stopped then. It was too hard for me," Clarke told The Weekly Review
"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 responsibility to his family, firstly, but then also as Australia's cricket
captain to my teammates and getting us back out onto the field."
Clarke, who was a pallbearer at Hughes' funeral and
delivered an emotional eulogy to his "little brother", said that
after he died, he felt fear for the first time while playing cricket.
Clarke toured the West Indies in June 2015, which he said
was a mistake.
"Going to the West Indies was probably the worst tour
of my life in regards to how emotional I was," he said.
"I was there on my own. Unfortunately Kyly (his wife)
couldn't come because she was pregnant and we weren't comfortable with her
"I had six weeks in the West Indies ... whatever we had
on as a team during the day I would go back to my room every night and just cry
myself to sleep."
He said there were days when the pain of missing Hughes was
"I still have days regularly where it's heart-breaking.
It's still raw ... the emotion and pain is still there."
Since his retirement, Clarke has commentated on cricket for
Australia's Nine Network. He also runs his own cricket academy among other