In a tragic turn of events, an on-field brawl between two teenagers in Matugama town of the Western Province in Sri Lanka resulted in the death of a 15-year-old boy after he was fatally injured by another 14-year-old during a cricket match. The Police reported that seven boys were playing cricket on a field, and an argument arose related to a wide ball that soon escalated into a brawl. It was reported that the assassin used a wooden club to assault the victim, and the injured boy was pronounced dead after he was taken to the nearby Wettewa Hospital.
The culprit has been arrested by the Welipenna Police and he would be produced before the Magistrate, said IP Karunaratne, an official of the Police force. He also told that the deceased had received severe injuries to his neck and the head and was admitted to the hospital soon after the accident.
Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that the culprit was suffering from some other diseases as well, but the state, nature and the extent of those diseases were not reported.
As tragic as the event sounds, unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in the subcontinent, where cricket forms an important part of the people’s lives. The enthusiasm and the passion with which youngsters follow the game in countries like Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan often go overboard and result in acts of physical violence.
The roots go deep
In 2012, a 24-year-old on-field umpire was beaten up over an on-field controversy in Nala Sopara suburb of Mumbai, India. It was reported that the victim, named Paresh Raut, was thrashed by four spectators and was kicked in the ribs and the stomach.
It isn’t that these brawls are limited to gully cricket only. Even in professional first-class cricket, we have often witnessed cricketers losing their calm and getting involved in spats, that can be termed as both disgraceful, as well as contrary to the spirit of the game.
Only recently, during the Ranji Trophy 2015-16, India cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary got involved in an ugly on-field confrontation, that almost resulted in them exchanging blows during a match between Delhi and Bengal. At the time, a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) official had said, "I can only describe Gautam Gambhir as mentally unstable. This is not the first time he has done this and this won’t be the last. We are just waiting for the match to get over. It is Gambhir who began the war of words.”
The roots of this omnipresent yet dangerous practice lie in the way youngsters, especially the teenagers are brought up in the subcontinent. The massive population in these countries make it imperative for those looking to make a career in sports to be absolutely competitive and ‘win at all costs’ lest be overtaken by the hundreds who vie for the limited spots available in any professional team.
Such eagerness and desperation, mixed with the short-tempered nature of the youngsters, often results in ego-clashes, that further transcend into something like what happened today.