Cricketers escape NZ mosque shooting
The Bangladesh cricket team have escaped unhurt after a mosque they had arrived at to visit was under attack by a gunman in the New Zealand city of Christchurch today.
Bangladesh and New Zealand are scheduled to meet in the third and final Test of their series in the city starting tomorrow.
A Bangladesh journalist travelling with the cricket team told the NZ Herald the players had just arrived at the mosque for Friday prayers.
“They (the Bangladesh players) were just outside the mosque about to get off from the bus and go into the mosque when they heard shooting and a lot of people running out and they saw someone wounded in front of them,” ESPN’s Bangladesh correspondent Mohammad Isam told the NZ Herald.
“And seeing that, they didn’t get off the bus. About ten minutes later they ran out of the bus and ran through Hagley Park and into the Hagley Oval.”
That run took the Bangladesh squad and accompanying media troop through the South Hagley Park gardens for about 1km before they reached the cricket stadium.
The Bangladesh team’s strength and conditioning coach, Mario Villavarayen, a former Sri Lanka cricketer, told the NZ Herald: “The players are shaken up but fine.
“I spoke to one of them shortly after (the incident),” Villavarayen said.
“They didn’t see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the (incident) and just started running.
“The coaching staff were all at the hotel. The players just started running when they heard the shots. I don’t know how many (gunshots) there were. This happened at about 1.45pm.”
The team’s star batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted it was a “frightening experience”.
Mushfiqur Rahim, who had missed the first two Tests of the series due to a wrist injury but had been expected to return in tomorrow’s third Test, tweeted he felt “extremely lucky”.The Bangladesh team’s analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran tweeted: “Just escaped active shooters. Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere.”
Bowling coach Courtney Walsh, the former West Indies quick, added the squad would hold a “team meeting shortly”.
ESPN’s Bangladesh correspondent Mohammad Isam tweeted video of some of the squad walking briskly through the park after the incident.
A New Zealand Cricket spokesperson said it was an “unfolding situation” around if the match would go ahead.