DHAKA: Bangladeshi cricketers will continue to tour New Zealand in the future, an official from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) told Arab News on Friday.
His comments follow the attack on two mosques in Christchurch last Friday, during which a number of Bangladeshi cricketers narrowly escaped becoming involved in the atrocity.
The gun attack by a white supremacist resulted in the deaths of 50 people, with hundreds more injured. Five Bangladeshis were among the dead.
“We have a very good relationship with New Zealand, but from now on, security issues will be taken care of more carefully for our cricketers during any tour,” Habibul Bashar, a member of the BCB team selection committee, said.
“For every team now, security will be a big concern, and we can’t compromise with this issue anymore. If we are not satisfied with the security preparations when visiting a country, the BCB will have its own security team to travel with the cricketers.”
The team is scheduled to travel to Ireland in May to compete in a tri-nation, one-day series with the hosts and the West Indies. Bangladesh will then join the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Cup competition, scheduled to begin May 30 in England and Wales.
The players had been scheduled to be at the mosque when the attack happened, but were delayed en route after a press conference overran.
Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladeshi opening batsman, tweeted: “Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”
“It’s a haunting and unprecedented experience for our players which has shaken our team. We were saved only by a stroke of luck,” Raqibul Hasan, Bangladesh’s former captain, told Arab news.
“I have talked with most of our players and they are now coming out of this haunting experience slowly. I think this incident will not hamper their performance in the upcoming Ireland tri-nation series.”
Thanking New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Hasan added: “There is nothing above the cause of humanity.”
On Friday Ardern led a vigil of around 5,000 people in Hagely Park, in front of Al-Noor Mosque in Christchurch, where most of the victims died.
To express solidarity with the Muslim community in New Zealand, meanwhile, state TV and radio stations also broadcast the call to prayer throughout the week.