Distressed Bangladesh cricket team left New Zealand on Saturday for home still in state of shock and disbelief after they narrowly escaped the deadly shooting in two Christchurch mosques.
At least 17 members of the Bangladesh cricket team drove up to the Masjid al Noor in a bus to join Friday prayers when the mosque came under attack by a gunman.
Team manager Khaled Mashud said the players and staff on the bus watched as blood-soaked victims staggered from the building.
The team stayed in the bus for eight to 10 minutes before the players got down from the bus and starting walking through Hagley Park to the team’s dressing room sensing danger, according to Mashud.
At least 49 people died in attacks on two mosques during Friday prayers in what called the deadliest attack on New Zealand and their prime minister Jacinda Ardern termed it as one of the ‘darkest days’ in their history.
‘It will certainly take some time for us to get out of the shock following the experience that we had here,’ opening batsman Tamim Iqbal told reporters at Christchurch airport before leaving for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh were in Christchurch for their third and final Test of three-match series that was scheduled to begin on Saturday.
The Test was eventually called off and the Bangladesh Cricket Board and New Zealand authorities made quick arrangements to help the team leave the country at the earliest possible time.
‘It is better that we are returning back to our family because everyone’s family is worried. I just hope after returning home we can overcome it [trauma] with the passing of time,’ Tamim said.
Batsman Mominul Haque, who was also on the bus, said he had a bad sleep while thinking about the incident but was hopeful to come out of the trauma after a few days.
‘Whenever I tried to forget it, it seemed to be very difficult for me. I couldn’t sleep well,’ he said.
‘We’ll be in rest for next couple of days. Hopefully it will be okay after that,’ he added.
Speaking to reporters in Dhaka, former manager of the side and a Bangladesh Cricket Board director Khaled Mahmud, however, said he believed that the players will be normal in a few days.
‘I think the boys are very much matured. And this is not the first time the world witnessed this thing,’ Mahmud said.
‘It happened in Bangladesh as we know about the deadly incident of Holey Artisan…it’s true they got a shock but I think they will be all-right in one or two days,’ he added.
The attack sent shiver of chill in Bangladesh as the authorities had complained that the players were not provided with any security when they headed for the mosque.
BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury described the absence of security as an unfortunate incident and insisted that they would now ask the other countries to maintain security standard before sending team there.
‘It was unfortunate that we did not see any visible security protocol,’ said the BCB CEO.
‘We are not sure what their security system is. But when two countries sign MOU, national level security is always mentioned,’ he said.
‘We will set up a minimum security standard for future. Once it is assured only then we will go, otherwise not,’ he said.
Australia cricket team earlier cancelled a tour in Bangladesh in 2015 citing lack of security while Australia Under-19 cricket team skipped ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016 on the same ground.
Bangladesh had to ensure statesmanlike security for England cricket team to undertake a visit in 2016 and same security was provided to Australia when they finally visited in 2017.
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