Bangladeshi cricketers will return to the scene of the Christchurch mosque massacres two years after the tragedy, the New Zealand cricket said Tuesday. They are among the four international teams confirmed to play in New Zealand in the coming months. Bangladesh plays a one-day international in Christchurch on March 17 and is likely to be in the city on March 15, two years to the day after a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshipers in two mosques and injured another 40.
The shooter began his murderous calamity at Al Noor Mosque, opposite the Hagley Park cricket oval, just as the mainly Muslim Bangladeshi team arrived for prayers before training on the eve of the second test against New Zealand last year.
As the players were about to enter the mosque, a woman warned them that there was being shot inside and players took cover on the floor of their bus.
“We were very lucky because we weren’t there,” team manager Khaled Mashud told reporters.
“We saw it from the outside, like watching a video, like in movies. We saw a lot of people come out bleeding.”
None of the players were injured and the team returned home the next day after the test was canceled.
New Zealand Cricket chief David White said series against Bangladesh and Australia would not yet receive government approval, but he was “confident” they would.
The government last week gave the green light for the West Indies and Pakistan to arrive their first 14 days in the country under strict quarantine conditions over concerns over the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m thrilled to make this announcement today, given the uncertainty and difficulties of the past six or seven months,” said White.
“We are extremely grateful to the New Zealand Government for their help in navigating this complex process.”
Four tests are scheduled, two against the West Indies and two against Pakistan, the first of which will be a Boxing Day test at Tauranga’s Bay Oval.
New Zealand is currently fourth in the inaugural Test Match Championship standings – behind India, England and Australia – and just ahead of Pakistan with the West Indies seventh.
White said New Zealand cricket was aware of the challenging conditions many people found themselves in as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and would cut ticket prices by nearly 50 percent to acknowledge this.
“It may sound counterintuitive to lower ticket prices at a time of huge extra costs and expenses for the game, but we think this is the right thing to do.”
When the teams arrive in New Zealand, they will spend their required 14-day quarantine in Christchurch, where they can train at NZC’s high-performance center at Lincoln University.
West Indies tour:
November 27 – 1st T20, Auckland
November 29 – 2nd Twenty20, Tauranga
November 30 – 3rd Twenty20, Tauranga
December 3-7 – 1st Test, Hamilton
December 11-15 – 2nd Test, Wellington
Tour of Pakistan:
December 18 – 1st T20, Auckland
December 20 – 2nd T20, Hamilton
December 22 – 3rd T20, Napier
December 26-30 – 1st Test, Tauranga
January 3-7 – 2nd Test, Christchurch
February 22 – 1st T20, Christchurch
February 25 – 2nd T20, Dunedin
March 3 – 3rd T20, Wellington
March 5 – 4th T20, Auckland
March 7 – 5th T20, Tauranga
March 13 – 1st ODI, Dunedin
March 17 – 2nd ODI, Christchurch
March 20 – 3rd ODI, Wellington
March 23 – 1st T20, Napier
March 26 – 2nd T20, Auckland
March 28 – 3rd T20, Hamilton
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