Indian-origin club cricketer dies in on-field tragedy
Hareesh Gangadharan, originally from Kochi had moved to New Zealand five years ago. (Image courtesy: New Zealand Herald)

An Indian-original cricketer, Hareesh Gangadharan, died on the filed while playing a local club cricket match in Dunedin on Saturday. Gangadharan, aged 33, while fielding for Green Island Cricket Club, apparently suffered a medical event.

After bowling two overs, Gangadharan complaining of lack of breath, and eventually collapsed mid pitch at the Sunnyvale Sports Centre, and could not be revived despite efforts of his fellow cricketers, spectators and emergency services. He is survived by wife Nisha Hareesh and their three-year-old daughter Gowri.

Club president John Moyle expressed grief following the tragic incident through a statement.

“I am heartbroken to confirm the news of the very sudden death of our Green Island Cricket Club member while playing yesterday at Sunnyvale,” he said. “Hareesh Gangadharan suffered a medical event and despite all efforts by teammates, the public and emergency services he could not be saved.”

Shocked by the death, as per statements from his teammates, Gangadharan was a fit and healthy man who used to open the batting and bowling for the team. He had been playing for Green Islands – established in 1930 – for over six seasons. Originally from Kochi, Kerala, Gangadharan came to New Zealand five years ago to marry his wife.

Fellow cricketers described Gangadharan as a wonderful allrounder. Teammate Cyrus Barnabas said Hareesh had three wishes for the team ahead of the game on Saturday: to score 250, bat their 50 overs, and for a player to score a hundred. Batting first against Albion, the team had achieved all three goals, while Barnabas himself scoring a hundred, supported at the end of his innings by Hareesh who ended on about 30 not out.

As per reports, Gangadharan’s body will be released to the family on Monday or Tuesday before being repatriated to India.