Bangladesh players 'very lucky' to avoid Christchurch massacre

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Team manager Khaled Mashud said Bangladesh players and staff were "very lucky" to escape unharmed as they were "three or four minutes" away from being inside a mosque where a terror attack unfolded on Friday.

Mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques resulted in 49 people being killed and 48 injured.

Mashud revealed that the majority of the tourists' squad were inside a bus outside the Al Noor mosque while a massacre took place and saw "bloodstained people staggering out".

He is quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "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 spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi] 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.

"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 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-ten minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fires at us."

The third and final Test at Hagley Oval - which was due to start on Saturday - was called off following the attacks and the Bangladesh squad will fly home as soon as possible.

Mashud said the players and staff ran through Hagley Park to the ground after being allowed to get off the bus.

He added: "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 wasn't 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."

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