Christchurch mosque shootings narrowly avoided by Bangladesh team, New Zealand Test cancelled

15 March 2019, 06:05 | Updated: 15 March 2019, 10:16

The Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided the Christchurch mosque shootings before the third Test against New Zealand, which has been cancelled.

Jalal Yunus, a spokesperson for the Bangladesh Cricket Board, told AFP most of the team had gone to the mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the shooting took place.

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He said: "They are safe, but they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel."

Tamin Iqbal, the Bangladesh opener, said on Twitter following the attack: "Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack."

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has confirmed that 49 people were killed during the attacks on Friday.

Two mosques were targeted, with the deadliest attack taking place at the Al Noor mosque in the city centre, which the Bangladesh team were planning to attend.

Three men and one woman were held in custody following the attacks, while a number of improvised explosive devices strapped to vehicles have been made safe by police. One male has since been charged with murder.

The New Zealand cricket team confirmed members of both sides were safe, saying 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."

The third Test was due to begin on Saturday morning (Christchurch time) at the Hagley Oval, with New Zealand already 2-0 up in the three-Test series.

David White, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket [NZC], told TVNZ: "I spoke to my counterpart in Bangladesh and we agree it's inappropriate to play cricket at this time. It's quite unbelievable really. We are shocked."

NZC added arrangements are being made for Bangladesh to return home as soon as possible.

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations [FICA], a body which acts on behalf of players, said in a statement following the attack: "FICA has been in contact with the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association and Cricketers' Welfare Association of Bangladesh.

"Full support has been offered to the Bangladesh players and the touring squad on the ground."