3 Dec 2014

Phillip Hughes mourned by friends and family at funeral

Australia captain Michael Clarke breaks down in tears as cricket fans gather from across Australia to mourn the death of batsman Phillip Hughes.

Hughes, 25, died after being hit on the neck by a ball during a cricket match in Sydney.

His funeral took place in his hometown of Mackville, but thousands of fans gathered at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Adelaide Oval, the Gabba and the WACA to express their grief.

Speaking during the 80-minute service, Michael Clarke said: “Phillip’s spirit, which is now part of our game forever, will act as a custodian of the sport we all love.

“We must listen to it. We must cherish it. We must learn from it. We must dig in and get through to tea. And we must play on.

“So rest in peace my little brother. I will see you out in the middle.”

Bravely, Sean Abbott, the bowler whose delivery caused the fatal injuries to Hughes, also attended the service.

Cricket bat

The funeral was broadcast on national television and on big screens in cities across Australia. Despite the blanket coverage, many of those present at Australia’s iconic cricket venues had travelled hundreds of miles to remember Hughes.

“A lot of people when they go down give it away but he just kept on coming back. I just loved his style, his ability to bat was unbelievable,” said Simon Southwell, who travelled with his family from Canberra to Sydney.

The many cricket bats and floral tributes that had been laid outside the Sydney Cricket Ground gates since Hughes died last Thursday had been brought into the ground and arranged on the wicket.

There was also an installation of 63 bats across the field, each one with the description of a milestone from the batsman’s career, in a reference to the tally, 63 not out, that was on the scoreboard when he was injured.

Last week cricket fans around the world paid tribute to Phillip Hughes by posting pictures of their cricket bats on twitter with the hashtag #PutOutYourBats.

Some 3,000 fans also turned out at the Adelaide Oval, where Hughes had played his state cricket with South Australia since moving from New South Wales two years ago.