Matthew Wade will be thinking of his mate at the Adelaide Oval. Picture: AAP/Sam Wundke
Matthew Wade will be thinking of his mate at the Adelaide Oval. Picture: AAP/Sam Wundke

Linked by ink: Wade’s mark of respect for Hughes

BECAUSE he carries a tattoo of Phillip Hughes on his arm, Matthew Wade is always asked about his departed friend.

And Wade is always happy to talk - and there is much to talk about.

From their love of country life to the occasional fashion advice offered to Wade's wife, to the comical memories of Hughes' bad spelling.

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Then there were the more emotional topics including the support two young fringe players would give each other when one or both had fallen out of the Test XI in their brief but eventful careers.


Wade had his forearm inked with Hughes' image just three weeks after the cricketer's death and it serves as a constant reminder why the Tasmanian plays the game.

"Yeah, I think it reminds me,'' he said.

"There's stuff that comes up all the time. My daughter (Winter, 3) asks me about it. Small things like that. People are really interested in the tattoo of Hughesy and it does bring back a lot of memories as soon as someone mentions it.

"You automatically start thinking of Hughesy and the person he was and how much, not only me, but we all miss him.

Wade’s tattoo tribute to Phil Hughes. Picture: AAP/Sam Wundke
Wade’s tattoo tribute to Phil Hughes. Picture: AAP/Sam Wundke

"Along with what I went through with my testicular cancer when I was 16, Hughesy's (death) just gives me perspective on life.

"Cricket is not the be-all and end-all for me. Family is the most important thing."

Wade's tattoo is based on a photo used prominently of Hughes at the time of his death.

It also includes the SCG clock tower in the background with the time reading 408, Hughes' Test number.

The pair first met when they were 19-year-old kids at the Cricket Academy but truly bonded on the 2013 Ashes tour when the left-handers spent most of their time on the outer, desperately fighting to find their way back into the team.

"We'd always catch up with coffees and discuss our weaknesses and things we were feeling on the road that before then was not really discussed with other teammates," Wade said.

"We had the ability to open up with each other and express our frustrations and what we were feeling. About our game and about our life. I loved speaking to Hughesy about life away from cricket.

"He had a really strong view of where he wanted to be by the time he finished cricket. And that was back on the farm."

On Wednesday night, the Australian team gathered in the middle of Adelaide Oval to share funny stories about the batting prodigy who had passed away on that day five years ago.

"I'd bring my wife along every now and then and he'd chime in with a bit of fashion advice for Julia," Wade said.

But sometimes the memories brought back are a grim and jolting reminder of the fate Hughes met that day at the SCG.

Like when Steve Smith fell to the canvas at Lord's this year after being struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer.

Front: Phil Hughes (L), Michael Clarke (C) and Matthew Wade.
Front: Phil Hughes (L), Michael Clarke (C) and Matthew Wade.

"When Smithy got hit in the Ashes, that was a really big one for a lot of people in the dressing room," Wade said.

"I'd actually taken the stem guards off at that stage but then that was a real reality shock at the time and I put them straight back on.

"I just remember thinking what my wife would be saying if I went out to bat without them.

"She'd put a rocket up me. There's always little things that happen throughout cricket games and throughout life that remind us of Hughesy and makes us appreciate the little things.

"His legacy is certainly alive in our dressing room. He's constantly in our lives."