The Bangladesh cricket team will return home tonight after escaping unharmed from yesterday's active shooter situation during Jumma prayers at a mosque in Christchurch. The incident was labelled as the worst terror attack on New Zealand soil.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) confirmed yesterday that nineteen members, including all fifteen players, of the team will return to Dhaka tonight at 10:40pm Bangladesh Standard Time. The remaining coaching staffs are set to fly back to their respective homes on the next available flights.
Soon after news of the grisly attack broke in the morning, people were anxious to know about the Bangladesh team's condition, in addition to the touring journalists, and when they would return home.
"We were, at best, 50 metres away from the mosque. Had we reached three or four minutes earlier, it would have been a massive accident for us. We watched in horror, like you see in movies, people coming out of the mosque with blood dripping. We were inside the bus for almost ten minutes with our heads bowed to avoid stray bullets. The players were absolutely distraught while watching this incident unfold," said the team's operations manager Khaled Masud.
Masud added that they did everything possible to confirm the team's immediate return.
The third and final Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand, scheduled to start from today at Hagley Oval, was called off in the aftermath of the event.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) CEO David White confirmed the cancellation, saying: "On behalf of the NZC -- heartfelt condolences to those affected. We've cancelled the game. I've spoken to my counterpart at Bangladesh Cricket and we agreed that it's inappropriate to play at this time."
While also informed that the decision was a joint one between the two cricket boards and that the NZC were shocked and appalled by what had happened. The Bangladesh Cricket Board also released a statement.
“The Bangladesh Cricket Board is shocked and deeply saddened by today's dreadful attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and our thoughts are with them at this time,” the statement read. “The Board thanks New Zealand Cricket for ensuring that members of the Bangladesh National Cricket Team are safe and secure in Christchurch. Both national cricket bodies acknowledged that playing in these difficult times is not a practical choice and hence decided to call off the third and final Test.”