Bangladesh cricket team ‘extremely lucky’ to avoid mosque shootings

Members of the Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided the terror attacks in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, which killed at least 49 people.

The team, on tour in the country, arrived for Friday prayers at the Deans Avenue mosque near the Hagley Oval cricket ground as the attack was unfolding.

Mohammed Isam, Bangladesh correspondent for ESPN, who has been traveling with the players, told CNN World Sport their earlier press conference had overrun and they were about to get off the bus to go to the mosque when gunshots were heard.

“I saw players in training kit rushing out of the bus, one of them grabbed hold of me said we’re rushing out and you should follow us,” Isam said.

“We jumped over a fence into Hagley park and really briskly walked away. I could see they were all shaken, and these are well-traveled individuals used to playing all around the world but they just couldn’t believe it. They were shocked, traumatised completely.”

Wicketkeeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim tweeted that the team was “extremely lucky” to escape the attack. Batsman Tamim Iqbal said: “Entire team got saved from active shooters. Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”

Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, the team’s high performance analyst, posted on the social media site: “Just escaped active shooters! Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere!”

Match canceled

The third Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand, set to begin Saturday, has now been canceled and Bangladesh Cricket has said the team is “safely back in the hotel.”

New Zealand’s cricket team, 2-0 up in the three Test series, tweeted its “heartfelt condolences” to the family and friends of those affected.

At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch Friday lunchtime.

Three people were arrested in connection with the shootings. A 28-year-old man was charged with murder and will appear in court Saturday morning local time. Two others were arrested on suspicion of possession of firearms.

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Sonny Bill Williams, All Blacks rugby union star, said his “heart is hurting” and sent his “love and prayers” to the families affected.