Bangladesh cricket icon Shakib Al Hasan has formally entered politics and may contest the 2024 elections. The star all-rounder has sought a nomination from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League to participate in the upcoming general election on January 7. He reportedly took nomination forms from the party on November 18 to contest in three constituencies.
Welcoming Shakib to the political arena, Awami League joint secretary general Bahauddin Nasim told AFP that Shakib is very popular among the country’s youth. "He is a celebrity and has great popularity among the country's youth," Nasim said.
The Bangladesh all-format captain is expected to contest a seat either in his southwestern home district of Magura or in the capital Dhaka. However, according to reports, the major opposition parties are planning to boycott the polls.
Moreover, the 36-year-old's participation in the general election has to be confirmed by the ruling party parliamentary board headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. If the opposition boycott goes ahead, Hasina is almost certain to return to power for a fourth time.
Will Shakib follow in Mashrafe Mortaza's footsteps to focus fully on politics?
Shakib's expression of his enthusiasm to join politics has raised the eyebrows of many fans. He is not the first Bangladesh cricketer to enter politics during a playing career. Former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza joined politics in 2018 and was elected as a lawmaker from the ruling party. Mortaza, who captained Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup, later announced his retirement to fully focus on politics.
Shakib played perhaps his last ODI World Cup, in which Australia defeated India in the final to become champions for the sixth time. Bangladesh had to make an early exit after finishing eighth in the points table. They displayed poor performance throughout the tournament but managed to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy. Fans are wondering if the left-hander's move to politics is a sign of his retirement.
Meanwhile, Shakib suffered a finger injury during the World Cup match against Sri Lanka. He was sidelined for their last league match against Australia. The spin bowling all-rounder is yet to fully recover from it and as a result, he will miss the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.