CHRISTCHURCH • Bangladesh cricketers were left shaken after they narrowly escaped the deadly mosque attacks in Christchurch yesterday that cut short their New Zealand tour and prompted an emotional response from top sportsmen, including rugby star Sonny Bill Williams.
Most of the Bangladeshi team and staff had arrived at the Al Noor Mosque for Friday prayers when they were warned not to go inside as the shooting unfolded. Nearly 50 people were killed in the attacks on the two mosques.
Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said the team were unharmed but "mentally shocked", and had been ordered to stay in the team hotel.
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal called it "frightening", while team-mate Mushfiqur Rahim posted: "We (are) extremely lucky... never want to see these things happen again... pray for us."
The third and final Test match of Bangladesh's tour, scheduled to start in Christchurch today, was quickly scrapped.
The All Blacks, New Zealand's rugby team and the reigning world champions, tweeted: "Christchurch, we stand with you during this time."
Mr Williams, who plays centre for the All Blacks and is Muslim, said his "heart is hurting" as he posted a tearful video tribute soon after the attacks.
In addition to Bangladesh, citizens of Malaysia and Indonesia were also caught up in the shootings.
Malaysia's Foreign Ministry said no citizens were among the fatalities, but two Malaysians were treated for injuries.
The New Straits Times identified one of the injured as Mr Mohd Tarmizi Shuib, who is a flight simulator operator.
Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said an Indonesian citizen and his son were injured in one of the mosque attacks.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE STAR, THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK