He could also be Bangladesh’s greatest cricket star, however Mashrafe Mortaza insists he isn’t one other Imran Khan, Pakistan’s cricketing superhero-turned-prime minister.
Contesting a seat within the nationwide parliament for the ruling Awami League get together within the December 30 elections, Mashrafe says he simply desires to do extra for sports activities and charity.
“To be trustworthy, the extent the place Imran Khan has reached, individuals can’t all the time attain there even when they wish to,” Mashrafe advised AFP in an interview.
“My need is to do one thing for sports activities… since I’m a sportsman, my want is proscribed right here. I’ll work for my area to see if I can do one thing good.”
Mashrafe hails from the southwestern district of Narail the place his charity Narail Specific — additionally the fast-bowler’s nickname — has donated ambulances to hospitals and high-yield rice seeds to farmers.
Turning to politics is nothing new for cricketers in South Asia, the place the game is massively standard.
However unusually, Mashrafe continues to be enjoying, captains Bangladesh within the one-day format of the sport, and intends to guide the staff at subsequent yr’s World Cup.
Mashrafe has already retired from Twenty20 worldwide cricket and has not performed a Check match since 2009.
He may have been upstaged within the hearts of the nation’s cricket followers by his teammate Shakib Al Hasan, one of many world’s main all-rounders.
However Mashrafe’s die-hard perspective off the pitch — he has had seven operations on his knee — and on-field expressions of patriotism might properly endear him to voters.
He additionally gained plaudits as captain, guiding the cricket minnows to their first World Cup quarter-final in 2015.
Nonetheless, when Mashrafe introduced his choice to enter politics, many followers had been brazenly vital.
A lot of the feedback on his social media fan pages are in opposition to him becoming a member of Bangladesh’s “nasty” and “gutter-like” political area.
Others criticised him for becoming a member of the get together of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been accused of jailing opponents and stifling dissent.
However Mashrafe insists that he won’t be dragged down.
“All I can say from my place is the people who find themselves in a special get together or imagine in a special political perception, I don’t have any disrespect for them,” he stated.
“Though I’m supporting my get together wholeheartedly, I’ve 100 p.c respect for them and can proceed to have it.
“I’m saying this as a result of each particular person has the suitable to help who they wish to help. I can solely respect the opposition from my coronary heart, which I actually do.”
He additionally set the bar excessive for politicians.
“Politicians must be certified and good human beings. I’m not saying I’m already one among them although. The younger persons are carefully seeing our social decadence. I feel they need to additionally step into politics,” he stated.