Magura, BANGLADESH: Turning his star sports activities energy to politics, colourful Bangladeshi cricketer Shakib Al Hasan is all however assured to grow to be a ruling occasion lawmaker with basic elections on Sunday boycotted by the opposition.
Higher generally known as the main all-rounder of his period, the 36-year-old skipper has been on a whirlwind marketing campaign for the ruling occasion of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The result’s barely in query.
Opposition events withdrew from a vote they stated could be neither free nor truthful, accusing Hasina of ruling with an iron fist.
Shakib conceded he was not dealing with any severe impediment to his election, however informed AFP whereas on the hustings that the competition nonetheless made him anxious.
“The competitors and challenges are all the time there, be it a small workforce or large workforce,” he stated in his hometown Magura, the place he’s contesting a seat for Hasina’s Awami League.
“Even after we know we’ll win in opposition to a workforce, we nonetheless really feel our coronary heart beat earlier than the sport.”
Shakib’s marketing campaign obliged him to take a brief go away of absence from cricket.
He skipped a New Zealand tour the place the workforce has shone with out him, making historical past with their first one-day and Twenty20 wins in opposition to the Black Caps on the hosts’ soil.
As an alternative, he has been pounding the streets from morning til late, surrounded by cheering occasion loyalists and boys eager to fulfill their sporting hero.
However he bristled on the suggestion he wouldn’t be capable to steadiness his duties as a lawmaker and a cricket captain.
“Did I retire?” he requested. “If I haven’t retired, then the place does this query come from?“
Wearing a standard white tunic, he playfully lobbed tennis balls into excited crowds as youngsters broke by way of safety cordons to pose for selfies.
However whereas the crowds out to fulfill him had been cheering, the few thousand who gathered had been comparatively small for a sporting star of his stature.
Shakib is the one particular person to have been ranked the number-one all-rounder in all three codecs concurrently by the Worldwide Cricket Council.
He was an adolescent when he was recruited to the nation’s premier sports activities academy and simply 19 at his worldwide debut in 2006 as a batting all-rounder.
By the next 12 months, he was already a star when he hit a fifty in a David-and-Goliath present in opposition to India within the World Cup — a victory nonetheless spoken of reverentially by Bangladeshi followers.
He has additionally garnered a repute for ill-discipline, with a rebellious streak that after noticed him threaten a spectator with a bat, and that earned him a three-match ban after making a lewd gesture to a tv crew.
However his focus for now could be the election, urging folks to “work collectively” and to offset the influence of the boycott by the principle opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Celebration (BNP).
Police have arrested opposition officers and activists en masse over prices of violence following months of protests that left at the least 11 folks useless.
The BNP says 1000’s of its leaders and activists have been detained, successfully snuffing out credible opposition within the polls.
For Shakib, what issues will not be criticism of Hasina’s rights document however moderately Bangladesh’s spectacular financial development over her tenure.
“I believe Sheikh Hasina is a task mannequin on the planet, particularly in a rustic like ours the place there are many issues,” he stated.
Cricket’s immense recognition in South Asia has common the game’s high expertise into a number of the area’s largest celebrities, and Shakib follows different captains who leveraged their stardom on the pitch into political careers.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar, who nonetheless holds the all-time Check run document, took a seat in India’s parliament months earlier than asserting his retirement.
Imran Khan, who led Pakistan throughout their 1992 World Cup win, had a tumultuous time period as prime minister of his nation earlier than his ouster final 12 months.
Shakib batted away solutions he hoped to comply with in Khan’s footsteps, saying he was targeted on his present aspirations and never “future desires.”
He hopes his sporting attraction will encourage folks to vote for him as a candidate, saying he was prepared for a brand new problem.
“After I began enjoying cricket, I by no means dreamt that I might play cricket for 20 years,” he stated.
“Because the time passes, the dream will change accordingly. If one goal is fulfilled, then I can take into consideration the following.”