Australia captain Clarke leads tributes at Phillip Hughes funeral

“We must dig in and get through to tea. So rest in peace my little brother. I’ll see you out in the middle.”

Australia unites to celebrate the life of a sportsman cut down in his prime, at the funeral of cricketer Phillip Hughes in his hometown of Macksville. Video: Reuters

 

Australia captain Michael Clarke led the tributes at the funeral of Phillip Hughes in Macksville on Wednesday, as thousands of mourners looked on.

The funeral of the former Test batsman, who died last week after being hit on the neck by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG, was attended by the full Australia men’s and women’s squads and many more major figures from the world of cricket.

Clarke was among the pallbearers and also gave a moving speech about his former team-mate.

“He left a mark on our game that needs no embellishment,” the 33-year-old said. “I don’t know about you, but I keep looking for him. I know it’s crazy, but I expect any minute to take a call from him or to see his face pop around the corner.

“Is this what we call the ‘spirit’? If so then his spirit is still with me and I hope it never leaves.”

He said Hughes had “the heart of a man who lived his life for this wonderful game we play”, adding: “His spirit has touched the game, and the SCG will forever be a sacred ground for me.”

Choking back the tears, Clarke ended by echoing something Hughes used to tell him during matches, saying: “We must dig in and get through to tea, and we must play on. So rest in peace, my little brother. I’ll see you out in the middle.”

The service at Hughes’ former school opened with the music ‘Forever Young’ and lasted around 75 minutes, concluding with ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’.

The funeral was broadcast live around Australia and on video screens at the Adelaide Oval and the SCG, where 63 bats were displayed — each with an inscription of a special moment in the player’s career.

Hughes’ coffin was at the front of the hall, surrounded by flowers and cricket bats.

Cricketers past and present formed a guard of honour, with the hearse and funeral procession passing through them before travelling through the streets of Macksville as players and other mourners walked behind.

Former Australia pacemen Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, prime minister Tony Abbott, and India captain Virat Kohli and team manager Ravi Shastri were among those who made their way through Hughes’ home town along with his family and friends.

Abbott posted on Twitter shortly afterwards: “A sad, poignant, beautiful service to celebrate the life of Phillip Hughes today in Macksville #RIPPhillipHughes.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.