Cricketers’ families want foolproof security on tour

Minhaz Uddin Khan
Published : 19:45, Mar 16, 2019 | Updated : 19:47, Mar 16, 2019

Members of the Bangladesh cricket team arrive to depart for Bangladesh from Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand March 16, 2019, in this still image from video obtained from social media. Bangladesh Cricket Board/via REUTERSAfter narrowly escaping the New Zealand mosque shootings, families of the Bangladesh cricketers have demanded foolproof security arrangements on away tours.

Parents and guardians of many of the national team cricketers have made the call on Saturday as their loves ones are on a flight back home.

A group of the visiting Bangladesh side were on way to the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch for the Friday prayers. They were lucky to be a few minutes late and were saved from falling prey to the terrorist attack that claimed at least 49 lives.

After the shootings, New Zealand Cricket and BCB decided to call off the third and final Test match, which was Scheduled to roll onto the pitch on Saturday (Mar 16) at Hagley Oval in Christchurch Saturday.

The fact that Bangladesh team members were without any security protocol or even a local liaison officer, has raised eyebrows. Although, different theories have been floated regarding the issue, many still finds it hard to believe.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim’s father Mahbub Habib, said it was fortunate that nothing happened to any of the team members. But looking into the aftermath of the attack, he said things could just have gone horribly wrong.

Urgent arrangements were made to bring the Bangladesh team back home at the earliest.

The cricketers are scheduled to reach Dhaka Saturday night.

“BCB as the governing body of cricket in the country should ensure that our children are secured before sending them on tour, like we do when there are visitors in our country. You see we were fortunate that no damage was done to our children, but what if something had happened? The overall outcome of the incident is horrific. I believe the incident will make the concerned realise the necessities in terms of team security,” he said.

 “Life is priceless and nothing in the world can repay it. It is unfortunate that other countries speak so much about security in Bangladesh but till date there has been no occurrence related to any of the sports team here. It was alarming to learn that the person who is responsible behind the terror attack has been showing his negative sentiments on social media for the past few months, but their local authority never took a stance. If it was in Bangladesh, that person would have been traced out and ensured that he could not make any damage to the society. That is how we are different and secured,” Mushfiq’s father added.

Soumya Sarkar was one of the 17 Bangladesh team members who found himself in the deadly incident, and was the first in the team bus to notice people drenched in blood. Once he made the others realise the situation they were in, the team first took to the ground in the bus for some minutes before deciding to walk back to Hagley Oval, which is some 20 minutes away, according to Soumya’s elder brother Pushpen Sarkar.

“He was terrified and sounded very disturbed when he gave me the call to inform of the situation they luckily survived. He was in the hotel by then and was safe but still couldn’t get out of the trauma,” he said.

“They could have been victims if they had reached the place just a few minutes earlier, and shockingly they had no one to protect them, despite being an international sports team on tour. I am sure BCB being the ultimate guardian of the cricketers will make note of this and ensure the national assets are protected in every way possible,” said Pushpen, who had a short stint in professional cricket.

The Bangladesh cricketers are scheduled to regroup in Dhaka for the practice camp for the tri-nation series in Ireland in May, followed by the World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

The flight, carrying 19 members of the team including coaching staff, is expected to arrive at the Dhaka Airport around 10:40pm.