Touring Bangladesh cricket team makes narrow escape in Christchurch
Suvam Pal

The Bangladesh national cricket team, who are currently playing a series in New Zealand, had a close shave in Friday's horrific shootout at two mosques in Christchurch.

The Bangladesh cricket team, who were scheduled to play the third Test against the Kiwis in the South Island city, was arriving for prayers at one of the mosques when the shooting occurred. They were immediately asked to retreat for safety by the security officials at the place.

Panic-stricken Bangladesh cricketers share experience

Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh walks out to bat during Game 2 of the One Day International series between New Zealand and Bangladesh at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, February 16, 2019. /VCGPhoto

Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh walks out to bat during Game 2 of the One Day International series between New Zealand and Bangladesh at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, February 16, 2019. /VCGPhoto

Immediately after the incident broke out, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) posted on their official twitter handle: “All members of the Bangladesh Cricket Team in Christchurch, New Zealand are safely back in the hotel following the incident of shooting in the city. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is in constant contact with the players and team management.#christchurchMosqueAttack.”

The Asian side's batting mainstay and opener Tamim Iqbal tweeted: “Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack.”

While his teammate and another former captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who had missed the first two Tests of the series due to a wrist injury but was expected to return in the third Test, posted on Twitter, “Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque...we r extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us.”

Confirming that the “players are extremely distressed after the incident,” one of the touring members of the Bangladesh side told CGTN that they would wait for the board's decision and instructions for the next course of action.

Christchurch Test called off after attacks

Bangladesh's team players and officials pose for a group photograph during day four of the second cricket Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, March 11, 2019. /VCG Photo

Bangladesh's team players and officials pose for a group photograph during day four of the second cricket Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, March 11, 2019. /VCG Photo

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the BCB, Nizamuddin Chowdhury also mentioned that the team is safe and no player was injured in shooting incidents.

“We are in touch with our counterparts at the New Zealand Cricket Council and we have asked them to enhance security around our team,” Chowdhury added.

Chowdhury, however, said no decision has been taken yet on whether to pull out of the overseas tour at this time, and that Bangladesh would follow the advice of the New Zealand Cricket Council.

The third Test has already been canceled as the New Zealand cricket board under their Twitter handle “Black Caps” posted: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by the shocking situation in Christchurch. A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test. Again both teams and support staff groups are safe.”

Cricket and past terror attacks

The blood spatters and bullet riddles windscreen of a vehicle targeted in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan at 8.40 a.m. local time, March 3, 2009. /VCG Photo

The blood spatters and bullet riddles windscreen of a vehicle targeted in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan at 8.40 a.m. local time, March 3, 2009. /VCG Photo

Friday's terrible events in Christchurch have brought back the nightmares of the terrorist attack on the bus, carrying the then touring Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in Pakistan, ten years ago. On March 3, 2009, the bus was fired upon by 12 gunmen near Lahore's Gaddafi Cricket Stadium as the Lankan cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the then ongoing second Test against the Pakistan cricket team. Six members of the Sri Lankan side were wounded while six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed.

With the Sri Lankan team immediately flying back to their home, both the New Zealand cricket team and the Bangladesh cricket team put off their subsequent cricket tours to Pakistan. Pakistan lost the right to host international cricket matches on its soil for several years as a result of that deadly incident. Pakistan had to play their home matches in the United Arab Emirates and the isolation partially ended when a Sri Lankan team returned to Pakistan for the first time since the attack to play a Twenty20 International match at the same Gaddafi Stadium.

Although it had no direct relation to cricket, the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks also took place when England cricket team was touring India for a bilateral series. The deadly attacks on several prominent locations in Mumbai forced the touring English side fly back home immediately, but a few weeks later they returned to India to play again.