On what should have been Hughes’ 26th birthday, Australia captain Clarke paid tribute to the close friend he called his “little brother” by posting a series of images of Hughes on his social media outlets. 

They offer a glimpse into the fun-loving Hughes, and also the great esteem in which Clarke held him as a cricketer. 

Clarke told his followers about 10pm on Saturday calling on them to “raise your glass” to Hughes, who would have been marking his birthday in two hours time had he not died following a blow to the head while doing what he loved – playing cricket. 

%TNT Magazine% hughes clarke happy birthday 408 life will never be the same

Earlier that day Clarke read an emotional statement, understandably struggling to get through it. 

Clarke was by Hughes’ bedside in the hospital straight after the incident on Tuesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

His connection with the talented left-hander from country town Macksville was deep and genuine. 

‘Happy bday bro. Will love you forever. It has been the hardest few days of my life,’ he wrote soon after midnight. 

On Sunday morning he tried to celebrate Hughes virtues and share some of their fun times together. 

‘Happy BDAY 408. Life will never be the same,’ he posted with a picture of Hughes, himself and his wife Kylie. 

‘You are all teeth bro…. Hahahahaha,’ he posted with a shot of Phil smiling at a black tie function. 

‘This boy could do everything!’ went with a shot of Hughes taking the wicket keeping gloves in a Test when Brad Haddin got injured. 

And finally, poigniantly, he posted a cartoon of the pair walking into the sunlight, him own arm around the image of Hughes, whose figure is slowly fading away, with the words: ‘Goodnight buddy.’

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The clear emotion of the situation makes it more than obvious why cricket officials decided that the first Test of a four-match  series against India couldn’t take place on Thursday, December 4. 

Hughes’ funeral is to be held on Wednesday. While no final decision has been made it’s likely the series will be cut short to three matches, with the first being in Adelaide. 

Images via Instagram