Phillip Hughes’ funeral earlier today demonstrated theunity of the cricketing world but especially the sense of tremendous loss feltby Australians right across the country for one of “their own”, with theremembrance service and funeral being broadcast live to millions on nationaltelevision and relayed back to the major cities in ‘Oz’ on large screens. Theoutpouring of support from well wishers has been staggering after the suddenand shocking death of Hughes only last week, when he was hit just below hishelmet at the top of the neck by a bouncer in a Cricket match at the SCG inSydney.

Friends, family and fellow cricketers (including severalfrom the current Australian Test team and former greats such as Shane Warne andRicky Ponting) gathered to pass on their condolencies and pay respect to the alltoo short life of a 25-year old batsman who seemed to endear himself to thosehe met and played with during his time in this world. Overseas cricket was alsorepresented by New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee and the West Indian great BrianLara, among others. The Australian PrimeMinister, Tony Abbott and (bravely) Sean Abbott who bowled the ultimately fataldelivery were also in attendance.

Thankfully the cricketing world have beenequally sympathetic in their backing for that young man as they unite behindall of the players involved in the match, viewing it as a terrible accident inwhat is basically a safe game.

It was testament to how he affected his colleagues thatthe current Australian cricketing captain and friend, Michael Clarke, a pole-bearerat the funeral in Hughes’ home town of Macksville, New South Wales, was reducedto tears as he paid his own personal tribute. His parting words ”...rest inpeace, my little brother.

I will see you out in the middle” represented his heartfeltfeelings at the loss.

In a fitting gesture, Hughes’ final innings of 63 hasbeen officially classed as ‘not out’ for the record books, with CricketAustralia’s chief executive, James Sutherland, echoing that fact when he statedthat Hughes would be “..forever unconquered on 63”.

‘Hughesy’ was well thought of by the cricket lovingcountry and as a genuine and appropriate sign of their warmth and feeling forhim, cricket bats with messages attached have been laid against walls, fencesand cricket pitches in his honour.

As a consequence ofthe funeral and the welfare concerns that have been expressed for the homecountry’s players in the aftermath, the four Test series against India (whichHughes had been hoping to be selected to play in before his untimely death) hashad to be re-scheduled somewhat but will continue nevertheless. It wasoriginally planned to begin in Brisbane on Thursday, but that match has beendeferred to 17th December, with the first Test now being in Adelaideon the 9th of December instead. Tradition dictates that the BoxingDay Test in Melbourne will not be moved but the final Test in Sydney (whichwill no doubt be a poignant reminder of Hughes’ final moments at the crease) willnow be played on 6th January 2015.
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