Bangladesh cricketers escape attack, tour called off

Bangladesh cricketers escape attack, tour called off

Christchurch: The Bangladesh cricket team escaped unhurt despite being in close vicinity of a shooting attack on a mosque here but its ongoing tour of New Zealand was called off owing to the “unprecedented act of violence” in which 49 people were killed.
The Bangladesh team, which was about to enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Hagley Park to offer prayers, escaped unscathed but the situation led to the authorities calling off the third and final Test match starting Saturday. The match was the tour finale for the visitors.
“We are very thankful that we weren’t caught in the crossfire, but what we saw was straight out of a movie scene. We could see bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque,” Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud told reporters here.
“Maybe for about eight-ten minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fires at us,” he added.
The team’s Indian Performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekeran, a Mumbai-based computer-engineer-turned-cricket-analyst, was there in the bus at the time of the incident. The side’s spin consultant Sunil Joshi, also an Indian, was however at the team hotel.
“We couldn’t react initially. In such a horror situation, your brain automatically freezes as you are terrified. That’s exactly what happened to all of us,” Chandrasekaran, who has been with the team for the past one year, told PTI.
On being contacted, Joshi said, “I am safe, I will be back in India on Wednesday next week. I cannot talk on the incident right now.”
Bangladesh’s senior opener Tamim Iqbal said it was a frightening experience for the team.
“…please keep us in your prayers,” he tweeted.
The players were initially barred from leaving the bus but, after several minutes, disembarked and made their way through to the Hagley Park ground. They later went back to the hotel.
The bus carried 17 members of the team with Liton Das, Nayeem Hasam and spin bowling consultant Joshi staying back at the hotel.
Mashud said the players are bound to be affected after escaping death by a whisker.
“It is natural to be affected. When you see something like a terror attack in front of you, and you see blood spilled in front of you, this will affect any human being. It wouldn’t have occurred to us then that we would be safe later. Some of the boys inside the bus were crying as well, because they were all worried about how to get out of there.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said it “fully supports” the cancellation of the third Test.
“Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by this horrendous incident in Christchurch. Both teams, staff and match officials are safe and the ICC fully supports the decision to cancel the Test match,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.
PTI

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