State memorial service for Hughes

MELBOURNE - The Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, who died on Thursday after being hit in the head by a ball, will be honoured with a state memorial service.

The service will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground next week, the same stadium where he suffered the horrific injury on Tuesday.

State memorials are normally reserved for political figures but the New South Wales Premier Mike Baird announced yesterday that Hughes, whose death has triggered a global outpouring of grief would also be afforded the honour.

“This service has been arranged in consultation with Phillip’s family, and it will be an opportunity for the entire community to pay their respects to a much-loved Australian and New South Welshman,” Baird said in a statement.

Hughes’ death dominated Australia’s major newspapers yesterday, with sombre eulogies for the boy raised on a banana plantation whose life ended three days before his 26th birthday.

“Nation shares the agony of an innings cut short,” The Australian’s front-page headline read above a picture of Hughes gazing above with an Australian flag in the background.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph blacked out its entire back page, except for a picture of Hughes, in his honour.

Government flags were at half-mast across the cricket-mad country and floral tributes were placed outside the entrance to the SCG.

Local cricket clubs were painting 408 into the turf of their grounds, the number on Hughes’ national ’baggy green’ cap signifying his status as the country’s 408th Test player, while black armbands would be worn and a minute’s silence observed before games on the weekend.

Junior cricketers would also retire their innings at 63, instead of the usual 50, to commemorate Hughes’ final score. – Agencies

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