Phillip Hughes was laid to rest after an emotional funeral in Macksville © Getty Images
Phillip Hughes was laid to rest after an emotional funeral in Macksville © Getty Images

On December 3, 2014, Phillip Hughes was laid to rest in his beloved hometown of Macksville. His funeral was attended by his family, friends, cricketers, sportsmen, and even people who had perhaps never even met him before. Shiamak Unwalla looks at the love and respect Hughes evoked in the tearful ceremony.

There are few occasions more sombre than a funeral; more so when the person being laid to rest was a popular, well-loved 25-year-old cricketer who played the game with an infectious, wholehearted joy.

Few would argue that Michael Clarke is among the fiercest competitors on the cricket field. He has never been known to concede an inch, and has frequently been known to toe — and sometimes cross — the line.

The sight of Mitchell Johnson — handlebar moustache, tattooed arm, bulging biceps — hurtling down thunderbolts at 150kmph is enough to make anyone sorry for the batsman.  His mere presence in a bowling attack is enough to send shivers down people’s backs.

David Warner is perhaps the most belligerent opening batsman in Test cricket right now. When he decides to go for the kill, the bowlers rarely enjoy respectable economy rates. His on-field aggression is mirrored by the fact that he has the ability to hit sixes almost at will, against pacer or spinner alike.

These men — macho, aggressive, strong, fierce men —were reduced to unabashed, heartfelt tears on the day. Clarke spoke at the funeral, and struggled to hold back his grief. He said, “I walked to the middle of the SCG on Thursday night…It is now forever the place where he fell. I stood there at the wicket, I knelt down and touched the grass, and I swear he was with me. Picking me up off my feet to check if I was okay. Telling me we just needed to dig in and get through to tea. Telling me off for that loose shot I played. ”

To the thousands of people who watched his heartfelt tribute, it was impossible to hold back. “Rest in peace my little brother, I’ll see you out in the middle.”

Farewell, Phillip Hughes.

Complete coverage of Phil Hughes’ tragic demise

Complete coverage of Phillip Hughes’s Funeral

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)