Mosque attack: Bangladesh's New Zealand tour called off

Wellington, Mar 15: Bangladesh's tour of New Zealand was called off in the wake of an attack on a mosque which killed at least 27 people and injured several in Christchurch on Friday. 

The team was about to enter the mosque to offer prayers when the incident occurred but escaped to the nearby Hagley Oval. According to ESPNcricinfo, they are currently in lockdown at their team hotel.

While extending their condolences, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) cancelled the Hagley Oval. 

"A joint decision has been taken by NZC and the BCB to cancel the third Test match due to start tomorrow at Hagley Oval. Both groups of players and support staff are safe and secure," NZC said in a statement. 

Arrangements are being made for the return of the Bangladesh team home as soon as possible, it added.

'We are shocked and appalled as I am sure all New Zealanders are,' said NZC CEO David White.

'We are offering support to all those within the teams affected by the situation and are continuing to take advice from authorities on the ground,' the statement concluded. 

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern held a press conference about the shootings in the country's east coast city of Christchurch and termed the incident one of New Zealand's darkest days.

"It is clear that this is one of New Zealand's darkest days. What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence," Ardern told reporters.

"For now my thoughts and I'm sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with those who have been affected and also with the families," Ardern added.

Another shooting took place at a second mosque in Christchurch suburb. At least four persons, including a woman, have been arrested in connection with the crime. 

"The players were shaken up, the New Zealand Herald quoted Bangladesh's strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayen as saying, adding, "I spoke to one of them shortly after [the incident]. They didn't see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the ground [Hagley Oval] and just started running," 

Bangladesh's left-handed batsman Tamim Iqbal took to twitter to share his horrific experience, he said, "Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

"Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque...we r extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us," Bangladesh wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim tweeted. 

This is the first time a test held in New Zealand has been called off.

The hosts have already sealed the series with a 2-0 unassailable lead. On Tuesday, New Zealand defeated Bangladesh by an innings and 112 runs in Wellington Test. 

The attack has refreshed the memory of bombing in Karachi in 2002, which saw the second of two tests series against Pakistan cancelled before a ball could be bowled. (UNI)