Shaken Bangladesh cricketers narrowly escaped deadly mosque attacks in Christchurch on Friday that cut short their New Zealand tour and prompted an emotional response from top sportspeople including a tearful Sonny Bill Williams.
The team is reported to have left the bus and fled on foot to almost Hagley Oval where it is due to play New Zealand in a test match starting on Saturday.
They lost their one-day worldwide series 3-0 and have also lost the three-Test series after New Zealand claimed victory in the opening two matches.
Mario Villavarayen, the team's strength and conditioning coach, said it had been a close call.
"I don't they're in a mental state to play cricket at all, " he told Fairfax Media. "We have asked the team to stay in the hotel itself", he told reporters.
In announcing that cancellation, New Zealand's team said, "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by the shocking situation in Christchurch". The cricket board of both countries confirmed that "the team members and support staff groups are safe".
'We still love this country', says imam of attacked New Zealand mosque
If the shooting had started mid-prayer, he said, he thinks the death toll would have been higher. He walked back into the mosque, where there were at least two dozen people lying on the ground.
New Zealand's cricket team faced another such incident when a bomb exploded outside their team hotel in Karachi, killing 12 people. "It's miracle that I am alive", Srinivas Chandrasekeran, a Mumbaibased electronics and communications engineer, told Mirror from New Zealand, shuddering to recall the bloodbath at a Christchurch mosque. "Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers", batsman Tamim Iqbal wrote on Twitter following the attack.
"Inshallah (God willing) everyone who's been killed today... you guys are all in paradise", he said, wiping away tears as he spoke.
Former Bangladesh global cricketer Sajol Ahmed Chowdhury gave thanks that all the players were safe.
"We r extremely lucky.never want to see this things happen again.pray for us".
Initial reports from police in Christchurch indicated "multiple fatalities" from the attacks, with four people said to be in custody with the possibility that others may also have been involved. "They may even be refugees here", Arden said. The players and some support staffers were on their way to the Al Noor Mosque, less than a mile from Hagley Oval, when they saw signs of the unfolding carnage.
"He had a big gun and a lot of bullets and he came through and started shooting like everyone in the mosque, like everywhere, and they have to smash the door and the glass from the window and from the small door to try and get out".
"They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval", he tweeted.