Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza says he has put his political aspirations aside for the moment as he concentrates on the upcoming ODI series against West Indies.

‘My mindset is completely focused on training and the ODI series that’s coming up,’ Mashrafe said in a press conference ahead of the first ODI in Dhaka.

‘I will only concentrate on that [the election campaign] after December 14. If I play till the World Cup, I have about seven or eight months remaining in my playing career. I don’t know what I am going to do in the following four and a half years. The Prime Minister has given me an opportunity to serve the people.’

Mashrafe is pursuing political office in the Narail-2 constituency elections in his home district. His candidacy has led to many questioning whether his head will be fully in the game during the series that ends on 14 December, with the polls scheduled to be held on 30 December.

Mashrafe said that he pertinently arranged the press conference a day before the ODI side began training so that it wouldn’t cause a distraction as it did on the day his nomination was confirmed by the governing party, Bangladesh Awami League.

‘I don’t want to talk about politics during the ODI series, which is why I held a press conference today. I personally felt that if there are to be questions about my political career, it should be today.

‘I discussed it with [media manager] Rabeed bhai that I would have to face these questions, so it should be before the series gets under way,’ he said.

His latest ambitions outside of cricket seem to serve as confirmation of his intent to retire after the 2019 World Cup.

‘My mindset was made up for the World Cup. At one point I didn’t know if I could go further than the Champions Trophy [last year], but fitness kept me going. I will review my decision if I feel differently after the World Cup. My personal goal was to play till the World Cup, which is eight months away. During this time I will be playing within my plan. Whether I will review my decision [to quit after the World Cup] or not, time will tell.’

Photo: Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images