Cricket to Politics: Bangladeshi player acquires nomination form

Shakib al Hasan

Bangladesh’s cricket maestro, Shakib Al Hasan, has officially made his foray into the realm of politics, expressing aspirations to secure a nomination from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League for the impending general election slated for January 7.

The revelation came through a statement by Awami League joint secretary general Bahauddin Nasim, informed media that Shakib has acquired nomination forms to vie for a parliamentary seat in three constituencies.

However, the confirmation of Shakib’s candidacy hinges on the ruling party’s parliamentary board, overseen by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The renowned cricketer is reportedly eyeing a seat either in his southwestern home district of Magura or the capital, Dhaka, according to Nasim.

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Recognising Shakib’s widespread popularity, Nasim expressed a warm welcome to the cricket all-rounder, acknowledging him as a celebrity with a significant following among the country’s youth.

PM Hasina, who has held the leadership reins of the South Asian nation with a population of approximately 170 million for 15 years, will play a pivotal role in the confirmation process.

As the upcoming polls appear likely to be boycotted by major opposition parties, Hasina stands as a strong contender for a fourth term in power. Despite being credited with steering the country toward substantial economic growth, concerns have been raised by Western nations regarding democratic backsliding and accusations of opposition-induced vote-rigging in the past two elections.

The shift from cricket to politics is not unprecedented in South Asia, given the sport’s immense popularity in the region. However, embarking on such a transition during an active sporting career remains relatively rare.

Drawing a parallel, former Bangladesh cricket captain Mashrafe Mortaza entered politics in 2018, securing a lawmaker’s seat from the ruling party the same year. Mortaza, who led Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup, subsequently retired from cricket to focus on his political journey.

Shakib Al Hasan, who serves as Bangladesh’s regular captain across all three formats, presently finds himself sidelined due to a finger injury. This setback has led him to withdraw from the upcoming Test series against New Zealand. Shakib got injured during the same World Cup match against Sri Lanka, in which he appealed against Angelo Mathews, resulting in the first-ever timed out decision in international cricket.

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