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'There's shooting here, please save us'

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Bangladesh players in lockdown at team hotel (1:25)

ESPNcricinfo's Mohammad Isam talks about the events that unfolded in Christchurch and the impact on the Bangladesh side (1:25)

My day began looking for injury updates on Kane Willliamson, BJ Watling, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. There was a Test due to start tomorrow and my mind was focused on who was going to play and who'd be missing out. Eight hours later, I would be at a friend's house in Christchurch, trying to make sense of the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand's history. Cricket is farthest from my mind; my thoughts were of home and family, of the players who were metres away from the carnage, and above all of the people who lost their lives while in a house of prayer.

It's late night now in Christchurch and as I sit and write this, try and put down what happened, the brain is still scrambled. I'm calm, occasionally laughing, but that's just the nerves showing. It was just a few minutes but it might change my life.

1.00pm: The Bangladesh team arrives at the Hagley Oval for a training session and, though there's rain about, they plan to first go to a nearby mosque for Friday prayers and then return for the session. There was a plan to train at the indoor facilities at Lincoln University but then it was decided that the team would not travel that far.

1.27pm: Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah completes the pre-match press conference at the Hagley Oval. He is in a rush as the rest of the players are ready to go to the mosque, but he still speaks for nine minutes.

1.35pm: I am at the parking lot as the Bangladesh players board the bus. Seventeen members of the touring party, including manager Khaled Mashud, team analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran and masseur Md Sohel, are accompanying the players.

1.52pm: I get a call from Tamim Iqbal, one of the senior-most cricketers in the team, as I'm leaving the Hagley Oval. He's calling me for help. "There's shooting here, please save us." I first think that he is playing a prank but he hangs up and calls again - this time, his voice starts to crack. He says that I should call the police as there's a shooting going on inside the mosque where they are about to enter.

1.53 pm: My first instinct is to start running towards the mosque. I don't even stop to think; you can call me an idiot for running towards an active terrorism scene but I knew I just had to go. Partly as a journalist, mainly as a human being.

I start running towards the main road, when a lady, also heading out in her car, asks if I need a ride. I tell her what Tamim has told me, and she tells me to hop in. My fellow Bangladeshi journalists Mazhar Uddin and Utpal Shuvro also come along.

1.56pm: We see the entry to Deans Avenue, where the mosque is located, blocked off by a police car, so we get off in front of the Parkview Hotel on the corner of Deans and Riccarton avenues. I start running towards the mosque when I spot the Bangladesh team bus. There are a few police cars around, and a couple of ambulances. Some people are standing around, wondering what had happened near that intersection.

But when I look to my right, towards the entrance of a motel, it becomes clear: There's a body on the ground, being attended to by paramedics. There's blood everywhere.

2.00pm: I see one man running towards me, crying, and holding his arm. There's definitely blood on his shirt. People nearby are helping another man to escape, shouting instructions at him. I keep walking fast towards the bus when I see a line of Bangladesh players running away from the bus. I cross the road, and as I get close, Ebadot Hossain grabs me by the arm and tells me to run with them. At this point I still have no idea what actually has happened; I don't even know if the team was the target of the attack.

2.02pm: The players are now on the side of Hagley Park, and someone asks for directions. The ground is to their right, about a 15-minute walk. The players enter the park and start to run, when someone tells them they should walk quickly. Not run.

2.04pm: I am walking with Tamim and then I see the players spreading out, too wide apart. I ask Sohel to get them all together. It is impossible but some of them slow down to walk together.

It's no more than a kilometer away but it is the longest few minutes of my life. The players are talking about what they've seen - the blood, the bodies. One senior player holds on to me and breaks down. There is very little I can say to him.

2.08pm: We reach the Hagley Oval and just run inside. Everyone is taken inside the players' dressing room where they get to sit finally. They are visibly shaken.

2.10pm: We are taken to the Hadlee Pavilion where the rest of the ground staff, NZC staff, etc are being asked to wait.

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7:16

'We would have been inside the mosque had we reached 3-4 mins earlier' - Khaled Mashud

Bangladesh team manager recounts their 'lucky' escape from near the site of the terror attack in Christchurch

2.45pm: The team, after consultation with the two cricket boards, decides to head to their hotel on Cathedral Street. They are escorted there immediately. The journalists stay behind.

3.30pm: While holed up at the Hagley Oval, we keep seeing police cars and ambulances rushing towards the same place I had gone to earlier, near the mosque.

5.00pm: The tour is called off by New Zealand Cricket, after consultation with the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the ICC.

6.30pm: We are finally allowed to leave the ground, and we head to the team hotel.

7pm: Crossing a really quiet Christchurch city centre, we arrive at the hotel in three cars. Manager Khaled Mashud has to take us to their team room where he gives a detailed statement about what had happened, and what the team plans to do next.

7.25pm: We head to his room, where we charge our phones. Tamim Iqbal joins us. He is visibly shaken still, and I apologise for not believing him. He gives me a pat on the back, and smiles.

8pm: The manager Mashud treats us to dinner, after which we head out to our own hotels. Christchurch, at the start of St Patrick's Day weekend, is absolutely quiet. It was supposed to be a roaring Friday night. It is likely that the city will never be the same again.

10 pm: I'm at a friend's house for dinner. There's no appetite, little conversation. The minutes are marked by phone calls updating us with grim news: Another acquaintance gone, the death toll keeps rising.