Bangladeshi cricket captain Shakib Al Hasan won a seat in the country’s parliament Sunday after a landslide victory in a general election boycotted by the opposition, an official said. The 36-year all-rounder, who leads the country in all formats of the game, beat his rival by a margin of more than 150,000 votes in his constituency in the western town of Magura, the district’s chief administrator Abu Naser Beg said. “It was a landslide victory,” he said. There is no immediate comment from the cricketer, a candidate of the ruling Awami League party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is herself widely expected to win a fifth term in power after the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the vote.
Shakib, speaking ahead of the election, conceded he was not facing any serious obstacle but told AFP the contest still made him anxious.
“The competition and challenges are always there, be it a small team or big team,” he said.
Shakib’s campaign obliged him to take a temporary leave of absence from cricket.
He has bristled at the suggestion he would not be able to balance his duties as a lawmaker and a cricket captain.
“Did I retire?” he asked during campaigning. “If I haven’t retired, then where does this question come from?”
Shakib is the only person to have been ranked the number-one all-rounder in all three formats simultaneously by the International Cricket Council.
He was a teenager when he was recruited to the country’s premier sports academy and just 19 at his international debut in 2006 as a batting all-rounder.
By the following year, he was already a star when he hit a fifty in a David-and-Goliath show against India in the World Cup — a victory still spoken of reverentially by Bangladeshi fans.
He has also garnered a reputation for ill-discipline, with a rebellious streak that once saw him threaten a spectator with a bat, and that earned him a three-match ban after making a lewd gesture to a television crew.
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