MX23RW : Saturday, March 23 09:19:36

Bangladesh team saw bloodstained victims after avoiding Christchurch shooting

Bangladesh team saw bloodstained victims after avoiding Christchurch shooting
© Reuters
The Tigers were "about 50 yards" from one of the two mosques attacked, according to team manager Khaled Mashud.

Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud said he saw "bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque" as his side narrowly avoided being caught up in the Christchurch shootings.

Forty-nine people have been killed in shootings at two mosques in the city, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier saying at least 20 others had been seriously injured.

All but a couple of members of the Bangladesh side were on a bus heading to one of the mosques – on the eve of the now cancelled third Test against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval – when the attack was in progress.

Mashud revealed just how close Bangladesh were to the shootings and the horrific events that unfolded as he told reporters: "This was a kind of accident that we would never expect nor want in any part of the world.

"Only two of the players (Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan) 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 arrived even three or four minutes earlier, we probably would have been inside the mosque.

"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-10 minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fired at us."

Bangladesh Cricket confirmed all members of the team were "safely back in the hotel" and will "travel back to the country in the upcoming days".

Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim admitted he and his team-mates had been "extremely lucky" while opening batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted: "Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

New Zealand Cricket wrote on Twitter: "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by the shocking situation in Christchurch.

"A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test. Again both teams and support staff groups are safe."

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said in a statement: "Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by this horrendous incident in Christchurch.

"Both teams, staff and match officials are safe and the ICC fully supports the decision to cancel the Test match."

The cancellation of the third and final Test means New Zealand win the series 2-0.

New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams, a practising Muslim, said he was "deeply, deeply saddened" by the attack.

In an emotional speech to camera that he shared to social media, the 33-year-old said: "Just heard the news and I couldn't put it into words how I'm feeling right now. Just sending out my duas, inshallah everyone that's been killed today in Christchurch.

"Inshallah you guys are all in paradise and yes I'm just deeply, deeply saddened that this would happen in New Zealand."

"Duas" is the Arabic for prayers while "inshallah" means "God willing".

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), a body which acts on behalf of players, said it would offer its "full support" to the players' associations of Bangladesh and New Zealand.

New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, while three others have been apprehended.

The Wales rugby team, coached by New Zealander Warren Gatland, issued a statement which was read out by team captain Alun Wyn Jones before Friday's media access.

"On behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union, players and staff, I would just like to pass on my respects to everyone affected by the events that have gone on in New Zealand," Jones said.

"A lot of our staff have close links with New Zealand, so I'd like to pass that on."

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt (left) and Wales counterpart Warren Gatland are both New Zealanders
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt (left) and Wales counterpart Warren Gatland are both New Zealanders (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland captain Rory Best also expressed his distress at the "really tragic" news.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all the families, and anyone over there or with family over there," he said at a press conference.

"(Ireland head coach) Joe Schmidt is obviously a Kiwi, (scrum coach) Greg Feek too and (international team-mate) Bundee Aki has family in New Zealand and Ronan O'Gara is over there as well.

"It's just one of those tragedies that's really hard to put into words.

"You feel very helpless but all you can do is pass on your deepest sympathies.

"It was the talk of the team room at breakfast this morning because everyone was shocked and saddened by it."

Sir Mo Farah offered his condolences to those affected by the attack, saying on Twitter: "My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch. No one should fear going to a sacred place of worship. Sending my thoughts to everyone in New Zealand."

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah tweeted: "Dreadful news coming out of New Zealand this morning. My condolences go out to the families of those innocent victims who lost their lives in this act of pure evil."


Click here for more stories about Khaled Mashud

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Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim pictured in June 2017
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