2 Dec 2014

Thousands converging for Hughes' funeral

9:00 pm on 2 December 2014

Cricketers and officials from throughout the world have begun converging on the small town of Macksville in New South Wales for the funeral of Phillip Hughes tomorrow.

Greg and Virginia Hughes, parents of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, leave the hospital after his death.

Greg and Virginia Hughes, parents of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, leave the hospital after his death. Photo: AFP

Hughes, who would have been 26 at the weekend, died last Thursday after being hit in the back of the head by a bouncer during a domestic match two days earlier.

About 5000 people are expected for the funeral, at 2pm local time, in the small coastal town of Macksville, halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, where Hughes grew up on a farm producing bananas and beef, Reuters reported.

Among them will be his team mates from the Australia squad, whose grief at his death caused the postponement of the first test of a four-match series against India which was scheduled to start in Brisbane on Thursday.

Cricket Australia has re-jigged the schedule, with the series now getting under way in Adelaide next Tuesday.

Phil Hughes at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, 2013

Phil Hughes at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, 2013 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Chief executive James Sutherland said Cricket Australia would be understanding of players who still felt uncomfortable about playing next week.

"There's a funeral tomorrow, let's just understand that's going to be difficult enough as it is," he told reporters at Sydney Airport on his way to Macksville.

"I'd encourage everyone to give players their space and let them in their own way work through that.

"It's absolutely up to the individual (whether they play), and any player that is not comfortable or doesn't feel right, or there is medical advice that it is not quite right, we will obviously understand that."

Sir Richard Hadlee will represent New Zealand Cricket at the funeral, while India's stand-in skipper, Virat Kohli, will be among the mourners.

"It will be a sad day, as every funeral is," Hughes' manager, James Henderson, said.

"But it will also be a wonderful celebration of a young man who achieved so much in 26 years of life."

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