Bangladesh national cricketers narrowly escaped a shooting at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch of New Zealand where they were going to offer Jum’a prayers on Friday.
They went back to their hotel safely after being informed of two mosque shootings that left at least 49 dead.Bangladesh cricket team was staying in New Zealand to play a Test series against New Zealand.
Amid a growing panic, New Zealand and Bangladesh cricket boards cancelled the third Test match which was scheduled to begin at Hagley Oval on Saturday.
Witnesses said when Bangladesh players arrived at the mosque by bus to offer Jum’a prayers, a wounded woman came out of the mosque and fell down in front of them.
“When the cricketers were about to enter the mosque, a woman from a car near their bus shouted in panic and urged them not to get into there as firing was taking place inside,” one of the witnesses said.
Being panicked, the players got back into their bus. They had neither any liaison officer nor security officials along with them.
After staying inside the bus for some time, they got into nearby Hagley Park to avoid gatherings.Some players said had the press conference of cricketer Mahmudullah Riyad not been delayed, they would have reached the mosque before the shootings.
The press conference was expected to end at 1:30pm (local time), but eventually ended in delay at 1:40pm.
Team manager Khaled Masud (Pilot) and analyst Srinivas Iyer were also with the players on the bus.
Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hasan told journalists that everyone of the Bangladesh cricket team has remained in a safe place.
“I immediately talked to Pilot, Tamim, Mushfiq and Riyad. They all are safe in the hotel,” said Nazmul.
After arriving at the dressing room, the players got panicked as they did not find Litton Das and Nayeem Hasan who stayed back at the hotel.
After being confined to the dressing room for two hours, they were taken back to the team hotel by a special escort and since then they were asked to remain inside the hotel.
“The two cricket boards have already discussed the issue. We’ve cancelled the Test match as it’s not possible to play there at this moment,” the BCB president said.