Bangladeshi cricket captain Shakib Al Hasan has stepped into politics by seeking a nomination from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League. His goal? To take part in the upcoming general elections on January 7.
Shakib grabbed nomination forms from the party on Saturday to contest in three constituencies in the election, as confirmed by Awami League joint secretary general Bahauddin Nasim.
Despite this move, the major opposition parties in the country are planning to boycott the elections.
“He’s a celebrity with immense popularity among the country’s youth” Nasim told AFP.
Shakib’s candidacy received approval from the ruling party parliamentary board, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself.
He aims to contest a seat either in his southwestern home district of Magura or in the capital Dhaka, Nasim mentioned.
Hasina has been at the helm of the South Asian country of about 170 million people for the past 15 years, and criticism suggests she rules with a firm hand.
Although she faces allegations of democratic backsliding and accusations of vote-rigging from the opposition, Hasina seems likely to secure a fourth term if the opposition boycott continues.
In South Asia, it’s not uncommon for cricketers to transition to politics, given the sport’s immense popularity. However, it’s unusual for players to venture into politics during their active playing careers.
Mashrafe Mortaza, a former cricket captain, entered politics in 2018 and became a lawmaker from the ruling party in the same year. He led Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup before retiring from cricket to focus on his political role.
Meanwhile, Shakib, Bangladesh’s regular captain across all formats, is currently recovering from a finger injury. This injury led him to skip the upcoming Test series against New Zealand. He sustained the injury during a World Cup match against Sri Lanka, where he made headlines for a unique appeal against Angelo Mathews, resulting in cricket’s first-ever timed-out incident.