New Zealand cricketer dies on the field in ‘heartbreaking’ incident

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The sudden death occurred about 4pm at the Sunnyvale Sports Centre, Main South Road, Green Island, and was attended by St John Ambulance and police.

The man was a member of the Green Island Cricket Club’s Second Grade team, club president John Moyle said.

The Otago Daily Times has identified the man as 33-year-old Hareesh Gangadharan.

He was a family man and had played for the club for five or six seasons.

Moyle, speaking soon after the death, said the medical event occurred during the match at the club’s home ground.

“The team are in shock.”

It is understood that he was walking away having completed bowling an over when he collapsed.

Reports in New Zealand claim he had bowled just two overs before slumping to the pitch where he complained of struggling for breath and eventually lost consciousness.

Baffled teammates have told The Otago Daily Times Gangadharan did not have any known medical conditions and was a fit and healthy young man.

Some members of the team had medical backgrounds and a defibrillator kept in the club house was used but the player could not be revived.

He is of Indian ethnicity and played in a team made up predominantly of Indian players.

The club will be required to complete an incident report but New Zealand Cricket’s manager of public affairs Richard Boock said there was no indication it was a sports mishap.

“Early indications are that the player has had a heart attack. It is tragic. Everyone is shattered, both at the club and Otago Cricket. Our hearts go out to his family.”

The Otago Daily Times’ reports Gangadharan leaves behind his wife Nisha Hareesh and their three-year-old daughter Gowri.

Moyle originally confirmed the tragic news through a club 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.

St John Ambulance confirmed that they attended the incident with two vehicles.

Green Island is a five-time National Club Champion and current Dunedin champion.

It was established in 1930 and its website describes it as having a warm, family vibe.

The club was home to several Black Caps including Glenn Turner, Hamish Rutherford and Brian McKechnie, who faced the infamous underarm bowl in a one-day international against Australia in 1981.