Bangladesh cricketers had their hearts in their mouths when they went to a Christchurch Mosque on Friday afternoon, a day before the third Test against New Zealand. Just when the players arrived in the mosque to offer their prayers, they heard gun shots as there was a shooting incident taking place at that very spot. But fortunately the players managed to make their way out of the mosque safely.
As per local reports, a gunman reportedly opened fire at the mosque, with the former president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Mohammed Jama saying a man with a gun went into the mosque about 1.40pm on Friday. Reports also confirm that there was another shooting at another mosque as well as inside the Christchurch Hospital. One can measure the severity of the incident by the fact that there has been so far at least 50 casualties and several deads, according to Gold Coast Bulletin.
Fortunately, all the Bangladeshi cricketers managed to escape the scene without suffering any injury. ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent Mohammad Isam posted a video to Twitter to confirm the news. In the video, the Bangladesh stars could be seen walking hurriedly to their hotel as there was panic all around.
Bangladesh team escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters. They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval. pic.twitter.com/VtkqSrljjV
— Mohammad Isam (@Isam84) March 15, 2019
Later, the Bangladesh stars took to Twitter to express their feelings after the horrific experience.
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
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
— Mushfiqur Rahim (@mushfiqur15) March 15, 2019
“The players are shaken up but fine. I spoke to one of them shortly after (the incident). They didn’t see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the ground (Hagley Oval) and just started running,” strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayen revealed after the incident. “The coaching staff were all at the hotel. The players just started running when they heard the shots. I don’t know how many (shots) there were. This happened at about 1.45pm.”
Bangladesh are set to play against New Zealand in the third and final Test in Christchurch from Saturday. The visitors have already lost the series after losing the first two games. The upcoming Test will bring an end to Bangladesh’s disastrous tour of New Zealand where they are yet to win a single game. Meanwhile, there are chances of the game being called off after the shooting incident. An official update from New Zealand Cricket is expected soon.
In case, the Test goes ahead Bangladesh have received some big boost. There Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim looks likely to play the game after missing the first two games with a wrist injury.