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Bangladesh cricketers flee Christchurch shooting scene

Newshub logoNewshub 15/03/2019 Grant Chapman
a group of people posing for the camera: Bangladesh cricketers escape Christchurch shooting through Hagley Park. © Twitter/Mohammad Isam Bangladesh cricketers escape Christchurch shooting through Hagley Park.

NZ Cricket has announced the cancellation of the Bangladesh tour, after the team were forced to flee the shooting at a Christchurch mosque on Friday.

Armed police were deployed to the area, when 20 gunshots were reported at the Deans Ave mosque. Nearby Christchurch Girls High School was locked down and public urged to avoid the area. Shots were also reported at the Linwood Islamic Centre.

Soon after, ESPNCrincinfo correspondent Mohammad Isam tweeted footage of the touring Bangladesh cricket team fleeing through Hagley Park, where they are scheduled to begin the third test against New Zealand on Saturday.

"Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

Bowling coach and West Indies legend Courtney Walsh tweeted the team was due to meet shortly to asses the situation.

Meanwhile, Stuff reports an NZ Cricket spokesman as saying it was an "unfolding situation" whether the test match would proceed as scheduled.

Bangladesh strength & conditioning coach Mario Villavarayen said the players were fine, but shaken.

"I spoke to them short after," he said.

"They didn't see anything, but heard gunshots. "They were at the ground and just started running."

Wicketkeeper Mushfqiur Rahim tweeted he and his teammates were "extremely lucky".

Bangladesh Cricket has reassured its supporters that all members of the team are safe, and it is liaising with players and management.

"All members of the Bangladesh Cricket Team in Christchurch, New Zealand, are safely back in the hotel following the incident of shooting in the city," it tweeted.

While the fate of this weekend's test - and the Bangladesh tour - now hangs in the balance, this isn't the first time a cricket tour has been caught up in terrorism.

In 2002, the New Zealand team abandonned their tour of Pakistan, when a suicide bomber struck outside their hotel.

In 2009, the Sri Lankan team bus was targeted in an attack by 12 gunmen near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lochore, Pakistan. Six team members were wounded, while six policemen and two civilians were killed.

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