In an emotional day in Macksville, New South Wales, the cricket world said their final goodbyes to the late Phillip Hughes today.
Not a dry eye was in sight during Michael Clarke's speech for 'little brother' in which he had to draw upon every ounce of strength in his body to deliver.
In the touching eulogy, the Australian captain spoke from the heart and indicated that nothing other than his best friend's spirit was keeping him going through the toughest time in his life.
"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," said a tearful Clarke.
"Is this what we call the spirit? If so, then his spirit is still with me and I hope it never leaves."
Speaking in front of just over one thousand mourners in Macksville, in Hughes' old high school, 33-year-old Clarke spoke of how he walked out to the wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Hughes was struck by the ball on the night of his death.
"It's now forever the place where he fell. I stood at the wicket and knelt down to touch 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," Clarke uttered.
"Telling me off for that loose shot I'd played, chatting about what movie we'd watch that night, and then passing on a useless fact about cows.
"I could see him swagger back to the other end, grin at the bowler, then call me through for a run with such a booming voice a bloke in the car park could hear it."
The final goodbye
Clarke was joined by Tom Cooper, the batsman who was batting with Hughes in his final innings, and Australia international Aaron Finch along with Hughes' other family and friends as pallbearers for the service.
The funeral was televised and was made available to view online world-wide.
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