Christchurch tragedy brought Tigers closer | The Daily Star
12:55 AM, June 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:58 AM, June 05, 2019

Christchurch tragedy brought Tigers closer

The strongest bonds are often formed in high pressure and during crises, and Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes thought that the tragic terrorist attack on a Christchurch mosque on March 15 this year may have brought the Bangladesh players closer into a 'brotherhood'.

On the eve of an eventually cancelled third Test against New Zealand, the Bangladesh team bus had just reached the parking lot of the mosque when the shooter was concluding his attack -- which claimed 51 lives -- on unsuspecting worshippers who had congregated for Jumma prayers. The players narrowly escaped by making their way on foot through Hagley Park to the cricket stadium, where they had just concluded practice minutes earlier. It left many traumatised and in tears as they witnessed dead, bloodied bodies in the car park of the mosque.

"Well, I have got so much respect for the players; the way that they have handled themselves after that event; the way that they have got themselves through it all," Rhodes said during the pre-match press conference on Tuesday at The Oval in London, on the eve of today's World Cup game against New Zealand. "They are just celebrating Eid now, the end of Ramadan. That's been tough for many of the boys. It helps, in many ways, the Christchurch awful day and the shootings... it seems to have -- they have got some sort of brotherhood there now. They have shared with other Muslims who sadly perished that day.

"But the experience they went through, they went through together on that coach, and I think it somehow gelled them and I think that they have actually got solace from each other. They have tried to help each other through it, and you know, I've got a lot of respect and admiration for the way they have pulled through."

Finding solace in each other is also something Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza talked about on Saturday, a day before their World Cup opener against South Africa, which the Tigers won by 21 runs also at The Oval. Mashrafe -- who was not part of the Test squad and so not in Christchurch -- was talking about lowering expectations, and that more than outside expectations it was all about what the 'family' was giving to each other. That has been the defining characteristic of this team -- finding joy in each other's companies and enjoying their time on the field as well as off it.

"There's a lot of smiley faces at the moment, and going back to that day in Christchurch, I was thinking, how do we get a team back together after," said Rhodes. "But they have done it. It's not been anything special from me. I've just tried to carry on as normal because I thought that was the right thing to do, and the support they have given each other is the main thing. I think it would have been a big mistake to make such a big thing of it."


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