NZ cancel Under-19 tour of Bangladesh after Christchurch shooting

Sabbir Ahmed, a member of the Bangladesh Cricket Team, arrives at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport from New Zealand on March 16 after narrowly avoiding the Christchurch mosque attacks. (Reuters picture)

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Cricket have cancelled their Under-19 team’s scheduled tour of Bangladesh in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch.

The decision had been reached with agreement of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, NZC Chairman Greg Barclay said in a statement on Monday.

Barclay added both NZC and the BCB had agreed proceeding with the April tour would be “insensitive and inappropriate” so soon after the shooting that left 50 people dead.

Several of the victims of the March 15 attack were originally from Bangladesh.

The south Asian nation’s senior men’s cricket team also narrowly avoided being caught up in the shooting as a number of their players headed to one of the mosques for Friday prayers before the third test against New Zealand.

The third test, which had been scheduled to start at nearby Hagley Oval the following day, was cancelled and the Bangladesh team left the country.

“We have conveyed our deep sense of regret over the circumstances leading to this mutual decision, and the BCB have been both understanding and generous in response,” Barclay said.

“NZC have nothing but respect for the BCB and believe this development has only served to bring our countries closer together, and to strengthen our bond through cricket.”