Bangladeshi cricket star Shakib Al Hasan has officially entered the realm of politics, seeking a nomination from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League for the upcoming general election slated for January 7.
Awami League joint secretary general Bahauddin Nasim announced Shakib’s political ambitions, revealing that the cricketer had obtained nomination forms to contest in three constituencies. However, Shakib’s candidacy is subject to confirmation by a ruling party parliamentary board, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. According to Nasim, Shakib is eyeing a seat either in his southwestern home district of Magura or in the capital, Dhaka.
Nasim welcomed the cricket all-rounder, citing his celebrity status and popularity among the country’s youth. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been at the helm of the South Asian country for 15 years, will play a pivotal role in the approval process.
The upcoming elections are expected to be boycotted by major opposition parties, positioning Hasina as a likely contender for a fourth term in power. Despite being acknowledged for steering the country through economic growth, concerns about democratic regression and accusations of past vote-rigging by the opposition have been raised by Western nations.
In the context of South Asia, the shift from cricket to politics is not unprecedented, given the sport’s immense popularity in the region. However, transitioning during one’s active sporting career is relatively rare.
Former Bangladesh cricket captain Mashrafe Mortaza made a similar move into politics in 2018, securing a seat as a lawmaker from the ruling party the same year. Mortaza, who led Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup, retired from cricket to focus on his political career.
Presently sidelined due to a finger injury, Shakib Al Hasan, serving as Bangladesh’s regular captain across all three formats, withdrew from the upcoming Test series against New Zealand. His injury occurred during a World Cup match against Sri Lanka, where he gained attention for a unique appeal against Angelo Mathews, resulting in international cricket’s first-ever timed out.