Adelaide: Ravaged by injuries, Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke today said that he may never play again, even though he would do everything he can to return after virtually ruling himself out of the remaining three Test matches against India.
"The experts are looking at the scans now and I don't know exactly how long I'm going to be out for. I am thinking about the World Cup and our first practice game is eight weeks away. I would love to take part in the ODI tri-series (with India and England), but I just have to wait and see. There's a chance I may never play again," Clarke said after Australia beat India by 48 runs in the opening Test here.
"I hope that's not the case and I'll be doing everything in my power to get back out on the park but I have to be realistic as well," he added.
Clarke, who limped off the field with a hamstring strain on the final day today, said missing matches is heartbreaking.
"I want to be playing in Brisbane. Every game I miss for Australia is heartbreaking. You need to score runs to be in the team. I play my best cricket when I get some momentum so I actually get some cricket under my belt," Clarke, who has a torn right hamstring, said.
The skipper termed his side's victory over India as 'a special win'.
"It's obviously very special. Every Test match you play for Australia you have a lot to play for, but obviously this series is even closer to our hearts. This first Test is one we will remember and cherish for the rest of our careers, there's no doubt about that. This has been the most important Test match I have played in my life," said Clarke.
"I'm extremely pleased with the way the boys have gone about it. Their attitude from day one of arriving here was exceptional. There were some challenges mentally, and the boys expressed those leading up to the game, individually the guys were at different stages. To be able to come out and play some of our best cricket against a very good Indian team, that was special," he insisted.
The visitors were bowled out for 315 in their pursuit of 364 runs even as Virat Kohli scored a second hundred in the match.
Chasing a competitive target of 364, India were cruising along comfortably at 242 for two before the hosts staged a dramatic comeback to grab eight wickets for 73 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
"A lot of credit goes to India for the way they fought. They batted beautifully in both innings. Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli were exceptional today and showed what wonderful players they are. Virat showed a lot of class," said Clarke.
"There's always the risk of losing when you set a declaration or set a number that they're capable of getting on a beautiful batting wicket. But the way the boys didn't fear losing and tried to push as hard as they could to try and win the game was something I was very proud of," he added.
It was an emotional Test for the Aussies in the wake of Phillip Hughes' tragic death and while many rich tributes were paid to the late cricketer, perhaps the most special one was when the national team sang victory songs on the 408 painted on the turf later after the match had been won.
"I don't want to talk too much about that to be honest, because I'll get too emotional. He's in our minds, healways will be. He will be for the rest of my life. The boys are individually at different stages, but we knew once we walked onto the field we had a job to do and had to play our best cricket to beat India. We wanted to start series well.
"It's obviously quite emotional still and will be for a long time, but I think the boys in the change rooms are winning games of cricket is based on skill, not emotion," said the skipper.
Talking about Nathan Lyon, Clarke was full of praise, saying: "He bowled fantastically in both innings. I think he could have had eight or nine wickets in the first innings, he bowled unbelievably well. If anything, it helps Nathan more than how anyone else thinks. I think everyone in the change rooms knows how good he is. He knows what he did today, he could have done that a number of times for us already.
"He's bowled really well throughout his career. He is a match-winner and he's shown that anybody has the skill to take wickets in the first innings of a Test can certainly do it in the second innings."