The Bangladesh cricket team escaped a shooting at a mosque in New Zealand's Christchurch city on Friday by a matter of minutes. The team which was about to enter the mosque to offer prayers, escaped unscathed but the prevailing situation led to the authorities calling off the third and final Test match starting Saturday. The attack on the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Hagley Park killed several people, the local media reported.
According to Dhaka Tribune, the visiting cricketers were supposed to leave for the mosque at 1.30pm New Zealand time but there was a delay of about seven minutes due to the pre-match press conference of Test skipper Mahmudullah.
“We took the bus and started from the stadium at 1.37pm. There was a delay as Mahmudullah could not finish the press conference as per the schedule,” Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud told media on Friday.
“We could see the mosque from the bus, maybe we were 50 yards away. A difference of two or three minutes could have had us in the mosque and end as a horrific incident for the team. The scenes almost like we see in the movies. People drenched in blood and were walking out of the mosque. We are laying down in the bus for almost eight to 10 minutes. But at one moment we thought the attackers might come back and can find us in the bus after which we decided to come out from the bus and walk through the park to the stadium,” Mashud added.
Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Mithun said that the delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the whole team as they escaped the shooting being late.