Bangladesh cricket team’s manager Khaled Mashud Pilot revealed the horrible feeling inside the team bus outside the mosque at Hagley Oval when a gunman opened fire. The attacks at two separate mosques in Christchurch claimed the lives of 50 people and injured over 20 people. Cricketers narrowly escaped the attack but the manager revealed that they “could have been inside the mosque had they arrived three-four minutes earlier.”
Most of the Bangladesh team members and staff had arrived at Masjid al Noor mosque for Friday prayers when they were warned not to go inside as the shooting unfolded.
While speaking to the press later, Pilot spoke about how the events unraveled and how they came close to being part of the casualty list. “Most of you saw what happened, it was terrible, wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else. We were really lucky, there were 16-17 of us in the bus.”
“Including Soumya Sarkar. We were on our way to namaaz. Just two members of the team had stayed back at the hotel. We were really close to the mosque, about 50 yards, we could see it from the bus.”
“Had we arrived 3-4 minutes earlier, we would have been inside the mosque. A massive disaster could have occurred.”
“We watched the whole thing from the bus, like a movie, people bleeding as they came out of the mosque.”
“We were inside the bus for nearly 8-10 minutes, keeping our heads down in case we were shot at.”
Bangladesh Team Manager Khaled Mashud Pilot speaks to the media following the incident of shooting in Christchurch. Blackcaps (NZC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Bord : Tigers (BCB) has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test pic.twitter.com/CH80ohDFMO
— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) 15 March 2019
“Later we realised that should the terrorists emerge from the mosque and start shooting at random…,” he trailed off.
Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said the team were unharmed but “mentally shocked”, and had been told to stay in the hotel. “They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” Yunus was quoted as saying by AFP.
Mazhar Uddin, reporter for Bangladesh based Daily Star, said players lay down on the floor of the bus after being warned away from the mosque.
“Just escaped active shooters!!! Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere!!” tweeted Bangladesh high performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran.
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal termed the experience “frightening”, while team-mate Mushfiqur Rahim posted: “We r extremely lucky…never want to see this things happen again….pray for us.”
The third and final Test match of Bangladesh’s tour, scheduled to start in Christchurch on Saturday, was quickly scrapped.