DHAKA: Bangladeshi cricket superstar Shakib Al Hasan has officially entered politics and is seeking the nomination of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League to contest in the upcoming January 7 general elections.
Awami League Joint General Secretary Bahauddin Nasim said AFP that on Saturday, Shakib collected nomination forms from the party to participate in the three constituencies.
Major opposition parties are expected to boycott the elections.
“He is famous and has a lot of popularity among the youth of the country,” said Nasim, hailing the cricketer all-rounder.
Shakib’s candidacy must also be approved by the ruling party’s parliamentary committee headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He hopes to contest the seat in his southwestern home district of Magura or in the capital Dhaka, Nasim said.
Hasina has ruled the South Asian country of about 170 million people for the past 15 years and has been accused of ruling with an iron fist.
They believe that she will almost certainly return to power for a fourth time if there is a boycott by the opposition.
Hasina has seen impressive economic growth, but Western countries have raised alarm over democratic backsliding, and the opposition has accused her of vote-rigging in the last two elections.
Turning to politics is nothing new for cricketers in South Asia, where the sport is very popular. However, this is rare during an acting career.
But former cricket captain Mashrafe Mortaza joined politics in 2018 and was elected as an MP from the ruling party in the same year.
He led Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup before giving up sports to devote himself to politics.
Shakib, Bangladesh’s regular captain in all three formats, is currently nursing a finger injury that has forced him to miss the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.
He suffered the injury during a World Cup match against Sri Lanka, when he hit the headlines after an unusual appeal against Angel Mathews that resulted in the first time-out in international cricket.
“Alcohol scholar. Hardcore tv junkie. Wannabe bacon enthusiast. Twitter fanatic. Subtly charming travel guru. Pop culture specialist.”