Bangladesh players 'extremely lucky' after missing New Zealand mosque shooting by 'three or four minutes'

Bangladesh’s cricket team has been left stunned after seeing ‘bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque’ in Christchurch.

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Team manager Khaled Mashud was with the national side when they arrived outside the Al Noor mosque for prayers.

The Test team were touring New Zealand and, after completing media duties, made their way towards the site.

But the Bangladesh bus arrived moments after the shooting at one of two mosques in New Zealand began, with wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim describing their escape as ‘extremely lucky’.

Manager Mashud told media: “We were very close to the mosque, and we could see from the bus. We must have been about 50 yards from the mosque. I would say we were really lucky.

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“Had we reached even three or four minutes earlier, we probably would have been inside the mosque. This could then have been a massive incident. 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. Maybe in about eight-10 minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fires at us.”

Forty-nine people are believed to have been killed in the shootings at the Deans Avenue and Linwood Avenue mosques.

After arriving at the site, the team were reportedly told to stay on the bus outside the mosque on Deans Avenue before travelling back to Hagley Oval on foot.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board since confirmed the players arrived back at their hotel safely.

Mushfiqur wrote 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.”

Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal also tweeted: “Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”

The third – and final – Test of the series was due to start on Saturday but has been cancelled in light of the incident.

“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,” a Black Caps statement said.

New Zealand Police said that three men and one woman had been taken into custody.

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said in a statement: “Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by this horrendous incident in Christchurch.

The team were intending to attend prayers at the Deans Avenue mosque.
The team were intending to attend prayers at the Deans Avenue mosque.

“Both teams, staff and match officials are safe and the ICC fully supports the decision to cancel the Test match.”

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), a body which acts on behalf of players, said in a statement: “FICA, on behalf of its members and cricketers around the world, sends its prayers and sympathies to the people of Christchurch following today’s horrendous attacks.

“The global cricket community was shocked to hear that the Bangladesh cricket team was so close to the incident.

“FICA has been in contact with the New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association and Cricketers’ Welfare Association of Bangladesh and full support has been offered to the Bangladesh players and the touring squad on the ground.”

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