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Bangladesh’s Top Cricketer and ODI Captain to Contest in Elections

Bangladesh’s one-day international captain Mashrafe Mortaza will stand in next month’s election, the ruling party announced Monday, after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina endorsed the superstar’s foray into politics.

A photograph of 35-year-old Mashrafe, who enjoys rockstar status in cricket-mad Bangladesh, alongside Hasina ran on the front pages of many newspapers in the South Asian nation of 160 million.

A spokesman for Hasina’s Awami League said Mashrafe had been given the “green light” from the prime minister, who is seeking a third consecutive term in office on December 30.

“He plans to contest from Narail,” said spokesman Mahbubul Alam Hanif, referring to Mashrafe’s hometown district in western Bangladesh.

Mashrafe has not commented publicly on his running for the Awami League.

Cricketing authorities said there was no prohibition on active players trying their hand at politics. “To run in an election is his constitutional right. If he wants to exercise these rights, we have no issue,” Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus told AFP.

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