Players from the Bangladesh team narrowly escaped a shooting incident at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch before they safely made it back to their hotel.
The New Zealand Cricket Board and Bangladesh Cricket Board have decided to cancel the third Test to be played at the Hagley Oval as a result.
According to Star Tribune, Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers killed 40 people on what the prime minister called “one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack.
According to Reuters, the team were on a bus that was pulling up to the Al Noor mosque near Hagley Oval for Friday prayers when the shooting began but none of the players were inside and all were safe.
The players then left the bus and were put in a lockdown at the Hagley Oval dressing room. The Bangladesh Cricket Board later tweeted confirming that all the members of the Bangladesh Cricket team were safely back in the hotel.
Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team were bussed to the mosque and were about to go inside when the incident happened. “They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” he told AFP.
The incident took place around 1.45pm local time when some of the team members had gone to pray near the venue while members of the coaching staff, with a few players, either at the hotel or the ground.
“The players are shaken up but fine. I spoke to one of them shortly after (the incident). They didn’t see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the ground (Hagley Oval) and just started running,” strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayen revealed after the incident.
“The coaching staff were all at the hotel. The players just started running when they heard the shots. I don’t know how many (shots) there were. This happened at about 1.45pm.”
The schools and hospitals in the area too have been placed in lockdown with the authorities asking people to stay indoors.