BCB doesn’t request a rethink, opts to play safe than be sorry

As a repercussion to March 15 attacks, NZ U-19 squad won’t tour Bangladesh

By Lokendra Pratap Sahi in Calcutta
  • Published 2.04.19, 3:59 AM
  • Updated 2.04.19, 3:59 AM
  • 2 mins read
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A National Remembrance Service in Hagley Park for the victims of the March 15 terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP)

As a repercussion to the March 15 attacks on two Christchurch mosques, which could even have claimed the lives of Bangladesh cricketers and support staff, New Zealand’s U-19 squad will not be touring our Eastern neighbours between April 11-27.

A Media release from New Zealand Cricket (NZC), on Monday morning, informed both Boards had agreed that “sending an age-group team to one of the countries worst affected and, so soon after the Christchurch attacks, would be insensitive and inappropriate.”

According to well-placed sources of The Telegraph in Dhaka, the suggestion came from NZC and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) didn’t request a rethink.

The decision hasn’t quite sent the right message, but the BCB obviously felt it’s best to play safe instead of possibly being sorry.

It will, after all, need just one insane person to cause mayhem and potentially set off a terrible chain reaction.

Naturally, both Governments must also have come into the picture at some level and at some stage.

As of now, the Bangladesh U-19 cricketers’ tour of New Zealand, in September, is on track. But, then, who knows?

The Christchurch attacks resulted in 50 killings in cold blood. An Australian, Brenton Tarrant, is behind bars in Auckland for the carnage chiefly at the Al Noor Mosque and at the Linwood Islamic Centre.

Twentyeight-year-old Tarrant has been kept in isolation in a prison (on the fringes of the former capital) considered New Zealand’s most dreaded. Maximum security, in other words.

Fourteen members of Bangladesh’s Test squad and three from among the support staff had reached the Mosque’s parking area, for Friday prayers, unaware that a lone assassin was actually on a killing spree.

More horrifying, as it turned out, the brutal act was live-streamed on Facebook.

The third and last Bangladesh vs New Zealand Test was scrapped and the Mahmudullah Riyads were accommodated on the first home-bound flight possible. The very next day, as it turned out.

Stunned New Zealand continues to mourn the loss of so many lives. The killings, by the way, have seen Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern grow as a widely-respected leader.

Besides taking the lead in applying a soothing balm on a terrified Muslim community, Ms Ardern almost immediately banned military-style semi-automatics, the type used by killer Tarrant.

Meanwhile, having narrowly escaped death and still recovering psychologically, captain Riyad, former captain Mushfiqur Rahim, senior pro Tamim Iqbal and Mustafizur Rahman have opted out of the ongoing Dhaka Premier Division League.

The season began with T20 matches, but 50-over ones are currently being played.

From the Test squad which returned home prematurely, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Ebadot Hossain have been playing in the League.

“The ones most affected by what happened in Christchurch have excused themselves, which is fine with us. Riyad may begin playing in a couple of days,” Ahmed Sajjadul Alam ‘Bobby’, a BCB director, told this Reporter.

Alam added: “With the squad for the World Cup about to be selected, the Dhaka Premier Division League is important for aspirants. Those who make the cut for the Cup would also be travelling to Ireland for the tri-series, which comes first.”

A week-long camp is planned in the lead-up to the Bangladesh squad’s May 1 departure from Dhaka.