Kolkata, April 20 (IANS) Promising cricketer and former Bengal Under-19 captain Ankit Keshri, who sustained a head injury in an on-field collision during a local game three days back, died in a private hospital here on Monday morning.
While the bereaved family alleged “medical negligence”, top politicians and Bollywood actors expressed condolences.
The 20-year-old East Bengal player was injured and fell unconscious on the ground on Friday following a collision with another fielder while taking a catch during a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) senior knockout match against Bhowanipore.
The opening batsman, who was also a member of the Under-23 Bengal squad this year, passed away on Monday morning following a massive heart attack, a CAB official said.
CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said soon after the collision, Keshri was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by another cricketer, S.S. Singh, and then examined by a doctor before being rushed to a hospital close to the ground in an ambulance stationed at the Jadavpur University stadium.
Ankit’s father Raj Kumar Keshri alleged that his son had to be shifted to a private city hospital in central Kolkata on Sunday following the instructions given by a CAB official.
“On Friday, tests and scans were done initially and the doctors said he is fine. We were told he is normal and he will be transferred to the general ward from the ICU. But later they said he had contracted fever and so they didn’t shift him to the general ward,” Ankit’s father told a TV channel on Monday.
“We shifted him to another hospital after the doctors said CAB officials had suggested so.”
“At the other hospital, doctors said there is a slight injury and he is drowsy. They said he will remain there for three to four days. On Sunday, they informed us he will be shifted to the general ward but we got a phone call early morning today saying there was a heart block,” he added.
Raj Kumar also blamed medical negligence for his son’s tragic demise.
“If the treatment was good, then he could have been saved. He was playing well. He did not have any bad habits,” the grieving father said. Ankit’s brother accused the doctors of “callousness”.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also condoled Keshri’s death.
“Saddened, shocked with the news of young cricketer Ankit’s death as a result of an on-field accident. My condolences and prayers. RIP,” Banerjee posted on Twitter.
The Trinamool Congress supremo attended Ankit’s funeral later in the day.
Meanwhile, Tharoor tweeted: “Deeply saddened to learn of the demise of a 20yr old cricketer & U-19 capt after a fielding collision: RIP AnkitKeshri.”
Keshri’s tragic fate invoked the memories of the unfortunate death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes who was fatally hit by a bouncer during a domestic match on November 25 last year, and died from the injuries two days later.
Former India cricketer Raman Lamba also died in a similar way, from injuries sustained during a cricket match. He was hit by a ball on the temple while fielding in a Bangladesh league cricket match and died after slipping into coma due to internal haemorrhage on February 23, 1998.
Indian cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble condoled the death of Keshri.
“Saddened by the demise of Ankit Keshri. A promising career aborted by an unfortunate incident on field. May God give strength to Ankit’s family and friends to cope with this loss #RIP,” Tendulkar wrote on his social networking page Twitter.
Kumble wrote: “Sad news of a young promising cricketer Ankit losing his life on field of play. May God give strength to loved ones to bear this loss!”
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also commented on the “young loss in cricket”.
“Life teaches u just how unpredictable it is. Saddened 2hear of a young loss in cricket. An upcoming cricketer Ankit Keshri! Gone 2soon!RIP,” he tweeted.
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is West Bengal’s brand ambassador and co-owner of Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders, also expressed grief.
Actor Hrithik Roshan said he is “saddened” by the tragic death.
“Saddened by d tragic death of such young sportsman. Ankit Keshri. My deepest condolences 2 his family. Life is unpredictable. life is now,” his tweet said.
“Too young to go. Extremely unfortunate and sad. Condolences and prayers for Ankit Keshri and his family. May Allah bless his soul. R.I.P,” SRK said via Twitter.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tweet said: “RIP Ankit Keshri. Young cricketer passes away because of cardiac arrest following on-field injury.”