Bangladesh are scheduled to play a T20 International series in New Zealand in October next year. @ Twitter

Auckland: New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson Thursday said that Bangladesh cricketers and supporters will feel safe to return to the country in the near future after the visiting team had a narrow escape from the Christchurch mosque shootings.

“My hope is that in time the players and supporters will feel safe enough to return to New Zealand and I know that they know that they will be welcomed with open arms,” Robertson was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

Bangladesh are scheduled to play a T20 International series in New Zealand in October next year.

Robertson said he had emphasised in his letters that “violence and hatred shown by one individual must not be allowed to destroy the friendship and respect that the New Zealand and Bangladesh cricket teams and our nations have long shared.” (ALSO READ: We’ve shown that terrorism doesn’t have a religion: Ajaz Patel on Christchurch mosque attack)

The Bangladesh cricket team’s tour of New Zealand was called off on March 15 after the players had a narrow escape from a shooting attack on a Christchurch mosque which left 50 people dead.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who was named the Test Player of the Year during the New Zealand Cricket’s award function here, said that the act of violence made cricket insignificant last Friday.

“It had been a nice competitive series for a month and for things to end the way it did, cricket as a whole became insignificant,” he said. (ALSO READ: Fate played a huge role that day for Bangladesh players: Sunil Joshi)

“There was an opposition team we’d spent time with on the park who have pretty much witnessed what went on and felt threatened in a place you want anybody to feel comfortable. To end like that, it was such a shame and I know all the guys felt terrible.”