Tears flow at Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes' funeral
Cricketing greats bid an emotional farewell to Phillip Hughes at a funeral service in his home town on Wednesday (Nov 3), as Australia stopped to remember the batsman who died from a freak injury.
A lone cricket bat rested against the coffin at a packed service in his former high school hall in Macksville on the New South Wales coast in front of his heartbroken parents, family and friends and a shattered Australian Test team.
"Taken from the game, his family and loved ones at the age of just 25, left a mark on our game that needs no embellishment," tearful captain Michael Clarke said at the funeral.
"I don’t know about you but I keep looking for him."
Michael Clarke pauses as he speaks in front of the Baggy Green and other state representative caps belonging to Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes during his funeral servicee. PHOTO: AFP
His tragic death stunned Australia, where cricket is considered the national game, and prompted a rescheduling of the upcoming India Test series, while fans around the world placed bats outside their front doors as a mark of respect.
Clarke said he walked to the middle of the SCG on Thursday night: “Those same blades of grass beneath my feet where he and I and so many of his mates here today have built partnerships, taken chances and lived out the dreams we painted in our heads as boys.
He was with me
"I stood there at the wicket, I knelt down and touched the grass, I swear he was with me... telling me we just needed to dig in and get through to tea," he added.
Sean Abbott, the young man who bowled the fast ball which struck Hughes, also attended supported by his parents, as did Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Mr Abbott said there had been profound grief, in part because to "be felled by a hard but fair ball in the centre of the SCG at your most exuberant, it just doesn’t seem right or natural".
In Hughes’ small hometown of Macksville, tributes to the opening batsman hung in shop windows, while ribbons in the green and gold colours of the Australian Test team adorned telephone poles.
Hughes' coffin is carried down the aisle. PHOTO: AFP
Father Gregory Hughes (in front) in tears as he carries his son's casket past mourners. PHOTO: Reuters
Mourners of Hughes follow his coffin through his home town of Macksville. PHOTO: AFP