Bangladesh cricketer Mashrafe Mortaza defends decision to join politicshttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/bangladesh-cricketer-mashrafe-mortaza-defends-decision-to-join-politics-5465442/

Bangladesh cricketer Mashrafe Mortaza defends decision to join politics

Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza is set to contest the country's 11th parliamentary election and justified the move as the 'need of the hour'.

Several newspapers earlier this month ran the picture of Mashrafe Mortaza alongside Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on their front page. (Source: Twitter/mashrafebd)

Mashrafe Mortaza, who will be contesting the upcoming Bangladesh general elections, defended his decision to enter politics as the need of the hour on Monday. The cricketer will be contesting December 30 polls from his home town Narail in southwest Bangladesh on an Awami League ticket.

Mortaza’s decision to enter politics in a cricket-crazy country has received mixed reaction. Speaking for the first time since the announcement, the cricketer wrote on Facebook, “The tapping of politics was inside me. Because I always believed that the development of the country without politics is strongly not possible. I have played cricket, I have got your love. Otherwise, maybe I would have been lost in 2011. The love that I got from you in 2011, it has helped me to continue these seven years. This time the opportunity has been presented to me to do something for the people. I don’t even know what is waiting for me in the next four years of the World Cup. That’s why I have heard the call of time.”

The statement in Bengali further read, “I am not coming to politics to hit a person or a team. Many people are questioning why people like us enter politics! I know, as easy as it is, it is a very big challenge than to show the work. If I wanted, I could have been inside my own simple environment. But I dream, let the people of my area go forward to the way of prosperity. May the fireflies be spread on the people of Narail. I want rich Narail. As much pain as I am in that way, I will stay beside my beloved Narail.”

“I took my daughter to the biggest hospital in Bangkok before the week of buying nomination letter. But I thought afterwards that a common man is not being treated even when he is affected by many more critical diseases. I thought about the boys and girls who are not able to go to the doors of higher education from towns.”

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“I believe, all the conscious, worthy and good people of Bangladesh should come in politics. Many people may not be able to get the courage. I think that the wall of mental obstacles needs to be broken. But I am truly thrilled to be the possibility of something new. I hope you will be able to do something like that, and look forward to thousands of and Mashrafes in the future.”

Mashrafe is likely to lead the Bangladesh cricket team in the upcoming three-match ODI series against the West Indies on home soil starting December 9. The bowling all-rounder has already retired from Twenty20 international cricket and is yet to feature in a Test match since 2009.

Cricketers contesting elections in South Asia is not something new but it is rare for an active player to enter politics. Imran Khan, cricketer-turned-politician, earlier this year became the Prime Minister of Pakistan after his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, emerged as the largest in the country. Navjot Singh Sidhu is also a prominent figure in Indian politics and he serves as the Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums of the State of Punjab.