Cricketer and his brother drown in waterfall accident

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The Independent Online

A county cricketer and his brother have drowned while swimming under a waterfall during a pre-season tournament on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Umer Rashid, 26, described as the brightest star at Sussex County Cricket Club, died on Monday afternoon as he tried to save his brother Burhan, 18, who had got into difficulties while swimming in a 50ft-deep pool at the foot of Concord Falls. Both went under the water and drowned, Caprice Ashton, 18, a friend who was swimming with them, said.

Detective Sergeant Norman Ferguson, of Grenada police, said: "Caprice was swimming with the brothers in a pool at the foot of one of the falls, with two security guards looking on, when the younger brother got into difficulties. The older brother went to assist him but both went under and did not resurface." The bodies were recovered and taken to hospital at St George's. There will be a post-mortem examination and an inquest is likely to be hold, police say.

The Rashid brothers were relaxing after Sussex's victory over Northampton in an inter-county tournament. Sussex were due to play Northampton again in the final today but the tournament has been abandoned as a mark of respect.

As colleagues prepared to fly home to continue preparing for the start of the season on 19 April, tributes were paid to Umer Rashid. Don Trangmar, the Sussex chairman, said: "He was a personable young man, extremely popular and beginning to develop his undoubted potential. The squad is in a state of shock. Some younger members of the squad have taken it extremely badly."

Mr Trangmar added that the club would discuss an appropriate memorial and offered his full support to the Rashid family. He added: "Life does have to go on. It's a rebuilding process and we must consider the personal wishes of Umer's family and decide how we commemorate his time here and his life."

Before moving to Sussex, Mr Rashid played for Middlesex, making his debut in 1995. Jason Pooley, Middlesex's second-team coach, said the club was devastated."He was a fun-loving boy and as he progressed as a cricketer he got more confident," Mr Pooley said.

A statement from Sussex County Cricket Club read: "The club is in a state of shock after hearing of the tragic deaths of Umer Rashid and his brother Burhan. Umer was a great favourite with both staff and supporters alike and had been with Sussex since 1999.

"He will be sadly missed as a friend and a colleague and his talent, as a cricketer, was recently summed up by Chris Adams [the Sussex captain], as follows: 'Umer is probably the most naturally gifted player on the staff who is capable of playing explosive innings and bowling match-winning spells with his left-arm spin."

The accident follows the death 12 days ago of the Surrey and England cricketer Ben Hollioake in a car crash in Perth, Western Australia.

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