Bangladesh's cricket team is back in Dhaka from New Zealand, less than 48 hours after narrowly avoiding being involved in the worst mass shooting in the country.
The Singapore Airlines flight carrying the Tigers and the coaching staff landed at the Shahjalal International Airport at 10.45pm on Saturday.
“We consider ourselves extremely lucky to avoid the incident,” Bangladesh skipper Mahmuddulah told a brief media call at the Dhaka airport after landing.
Describing the attack as unexpected and that too, in New Zealand, he asked everyone to pray so that they can get over with the mental shock as soon as possible.
“It was shocking. We couldn’t sleep the whole night. We thank the BCB [Bangladesh Cricket Board] for the swift arrangements to bring us back in such a difficult time,” said Mahmudullah, who did not take any questions from the media.
At least 49 people were killed after a gunman opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers. Many others were injured in the massacre which the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as "a terrorist attack".
The Bangladesh team were on a bus that was approaching the Al Noor mosque, where 41 people died, on the eve of the third test at nearby Hagley Oval when the shooting began.
The test match, which had been scheduled to start on Saturday, was cancelled after the shooting and Bangladesh's tour abandoned.
Violent crime is extremely rare in New Zealand and the Bangladesh Cricket Board said the attacks had now changed their perception about team security on tours.
"We'll demand proper security wherever our team goes in future," BCB President Nazmul Hassan told the media in Dhaka on Friday. "If a country provides proper security as per our demand, then we will go otherwise not.
"I can say that everything will change after this incident."
Players and coaching staff were 50 yards from the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch when the shooting began on Friday.
"The worst part was we were watching all those things happening live, so it was very scary," Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal told Radio New Zealand earlier on Saturday.
It is understood a pre-match news conference overran, delaying the team's arrival at the mosque.
Tamim said: "New Zealand has been beautiful and very safe whenever we have been.
"This is the first time that, not only in New Zealand but anywhere else, that I have experienced this. It was a shock.
"The boys were mentally in shock. There are still a lot of people in shock. I was in shock too, so I couldn't say much to them.
"It will take time to get over it," added the 29-year-old, who said he would "pray for the victims that have lost their lives and pray for their families".
Photo: Sazzad Hossain and Rabiul Islam