Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) was unfazed by the criticism regarding Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s participation from the Narail-2 constituency in the 11th Parliamentary election, considering the ODI captain’s charismatic nature that helped overcome many hurdles in his life, report agencies.
The fans were sharply divided by the decision of the most worshiped cricketer in the country he decided to contest in the election for the ruling party Awami League. Some came up with harsh statement on social media to rebuke the decision, saying that a player should refrain from any political activities as long as he is in the cricket ground.
Mashrafe wrote in Facebook post about how he has always felt strongly about politics, suggesting that the 2019 World Cup would be his last international tournament.
“I always had the impulse for politics,” Mashrafe wrote in the post. “I always believed that development in our country is not possible strongly without politics… now I have the opportunity to do something for my country. I don’t know what is awaiting me after the 2019 World Cup. I value my time and I am paying attention to it. I believe that everything has to be done at the right time.”
Mashrafe also told the Bengali daily K0aler Kantho that he will only begin campaigning in Narail after the three-match ODI series against West Indies, which ends on December 14.
But the statement itself seemed not to be enough for his fans who apparently did not support the ruling party Awami League. Given the Bangladesh fans’ history, the current situation raised another question whether the fans would be as supportive and loyal as they were in the past towards Masharfe, especially when he would be playing the three-match ODI series against West Indies. Mashrafe has recently decided to play the series before joining his election campaign. At the same time question rose whether he could play with full concentration amid the outside pressure and if fans showed any disloyalty. But a top official of BCB said, they believe Mashrafe is experienced enough to handle those adversities as he has been doing this consistently in his entire career.
“To join the politics is entirely his personal matter. BCB has nothing to do in it,” said Cricket Operations chairman Akram Khan. “(As far as fans reaction is concerned), he is experienced enough to handle criticism and adverse situation. He is the most experienced player of Bangladesh and knows how to switch the gear. He hasn’t been playing Test and T20 format, yet his performance in the ODI never takes a nosedive in that extent. He knows how to perform, how to be calm in the ground.”