Christchurch: The Bangladesh team members were just a few yards away from the mosque which was the site of one of two terror attacks in Christchurch on Friday. Khaled Mashud, the team manager, recalled what he and his team saw
shortly after the shootout.
“I would say we were really lucky. 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 were not 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 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,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted Mashud as saying.
At least 49 people were killed and dozens seriously injured, in a terror attack targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
The shooter has been identified as 28-year-old Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant. Authorities found an 87-page anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim manifesto.
Mashud said that no one would have expected such an incident to happen in any part of the world
“This was a kind of accident that we would never expect nor want in any part of the world, we are very lucky because we had a number of us, about 17 of us, in the bus. Soumya Sarkar was also there, and we were all heading to the mosque for prayers. Only two of the players- Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan, as well as Sunil Joshi, the spin-bowling coach- had stayed back in the hotel, and rest of the squad had gone there. We were very close to the mosque, and we could see from the bus. We must have been about 50 yards from the mosque,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted Mashud as saying.
The Bangladesh cricket team was in New Zealand for their third test with the Kiwis. The team somehow managed to escape and reach the Hagley Oval and then the entire team was placed in lockdown in the team hotel.
“When we realised that the shooters could have inflicted more damage if they had found us inside the bus all at once, we took a collective decision to escape through the back gate, we ran or quickly walked out through that gate. Then we were in the dressing room, and the local liaison people explained to us how we could get out of there most safely to our hotel. It was not their fault, they tried their best according to whatever they are used to in their culture. Our players supported them a lot, with inputs on what was needed at that point of time. Our decision to get out was timely because in videos we saw that people came out and kept shooting later,” Mashud said.
As a result of the terror attack, the third Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh was called off.
With the match being called off, New Zealand won the three-match Test series 2-0 against Bangladesh.