The town of Macksville gathered to bid the late Phillip Hughes an emotional farewell © Getty images
The town of Macksville gathered to bid the late Phillip Hughes an emotional farewell © Getty Images

Phillip Hughes was bid farewell in a moving funeral in his hometown Macksville. The numerous tributes helped the world know the man Phillip Hughes, beyond the cricketer. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about the funeral and its memory.

Most of us never got to know Phillip Hughes personally. For us, he was always a precociously talented youngster from New South Wales, the youngest to score two centuries in a Test, the first Australian to score a ton on One-Day International (ODI) debut and the first Aussie to notch up a List A double century. Often, we tend to forget that there is more to a sportsman than the man walking in armour on the field. Over the last week, the world has become acquainted with the friend, brother, and son that was Phillip Joel Hughes.

Hughes’ funeral was one that would have brought most people to tears — irrespective of whether they knew him or not. His own Australian teammates couldn’t hold themselves back — men who portray the very machismo of on-field play. Hughes the cricketer took a backseat, and the person came to the forefront. Yes, there were anecdotes shared about his travails on the field, but it was more radiant of his personality than his batting ability. You could connect with each of those stories as if they were about someone you knew.

Sportsmen have two faces. One is their game face — the hardened competitor who doesn’t budge in the face of any adversity. This bears pain, symbolizes strength and competitiveness. The other face is the human being — one off the field in day-to-day life. This one is like any other individual on the face of this earth. This face feels; it is emotional and can connect with the simple things in life. How often does the game face shield the human from the public eye? We tend to idolise them, love them and criticise them as sportsmen, often forgetting their real human face.

A tragic event led us to discover the real Hughes — what went behind his Baggy Green? The boy who loved cattle. The boy with a connection with the country, the man who loved fashion. Cricket fans had known him through those records and the quiet Aussie on the field. Now, his memory is a lot greater than the man with the willow in hand. Looking at the turnout, friends, family and teammates paying tribute, one sensed how many lives he had touched. At 25, he had earned the love and respect of many. For the 2,500-strong Macksville, he was their hero.

Today’s tributes will reverberate in memory for ages. He was brutally taken away from the cricketing world and from his family in a cruel accident. It brought the cricket world together in grief, and it may take time to recover. The smiling face will be a picture to remember. The celebrations on getting his first ton will define him. Ultimately, what remains are his memories!

Catch live updates of Phillip Hughes’ Funeral here

Complete coverage of Phillip Hughes’s Funeral

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)