Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has been given an armed bodyguard after the cricketer was threatened by Islamists for attending a Kali Puja ceremony in Kolkata on November 12. (More Cricket News)
Shakib is a popular face in Kolkata having played quite successfully for the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders.
The 33-year-old star cricketer, who has successfully led the country in many battles, is the latest target of Islamists in Bangladesh, who have also held large anti-France rallies in recent weeks following president Emmanuel Macron's defence of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
Although it is not clear if the No. 1 ODI all-rounder of world will receive protection round-the-clock, Shakib Al Hasan was provided a bodyguard during a training session in Dhaka ahead of the Bangladesh’s domestic T20 tournament.
“The threat is concerning,” Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said in Dhaka.
After the cricketer's picture at the programme in Kolkata’s “Amra Sobai Club” went viral, 28-year-old Mohsin Talukdar from southeastern Sunamganj district went live on Facebook carrying a large machete in his hand and threatened to kill Shakib, saying the cricketer hurt his religious sentiments by inaugurating a Kali Puja in Kolkata.
By early morning, Talkudar, however, withdrew the threat and apologised in another live video on social media and then went into hiding. He was later traced in neighbouring Sunamganj district and arrested on Tuesday.
Shakib had also issued an apology and had said he only joined the function briefly.
Chowdhury further added, “We took immediate measures and also informed the relevant security agencies. They are also taking necessary steps.”
Shakib has been one of the prolific player from Bangladesh and in 2015, was the first cricketer to top the ICC’s all-rounder rankings in all three formats.