Whether he does something or not, the limelight inevitably shines on Shakib Al Hasan. It was no different yesterday, when the ace all-rounder made headlines after a person went live on Facebook in the early minutes of Sunday and issued a death threat while brandishing a weapon.
His offence? Being pictured at a puja in Kolkata.
In response, the left-hander posted a video on Youtube, going as far as reading the part of his invitation card that mentioned the name of the man who inaugurated the puja after posts made the round on social media that Shakib had inaugurated it himself.
Shakib said that he had attended a programme adjacent to the venue of the puja and explained that he had to get past the mandap in order to get into his car. He explained that he had been invited to take a picture, which was now being taken out of context.
"The place where we had our gathering was definitely not the Puja mandap, it was an adjacent stage. I was there for 30-40 minutes and we did not speak about religion at the time. When we had concluded, I had to get in the car but some of the roads were closed. So, I had to take the road through the mandap and I did that. Then the person who invited me requested me, so I lit a candle. Because I have played for Kolkata [Knight Riders in the IPL] for a long time, their journalists were very excited. So, because of everyone's request, I stood there and took a picture," Shakib said.
Shakib's explanation was well-intentioned, but the overall message left much to be desired. Pujas are big events and even in Bangladesh people of all religions are part of the festivities. Instead of using the platform to outline the importance of religious harmony, Shakib apologised for being present.
"I would like to first say that I am a proud Muslim. Everyone makes mistakes. If I have made a mistake or caused someone pain, then I would like to apologise. I was at our programme and I want to say again that we did not talk about religion. Those two minutes at the mandap are now being shown. As a practising Muslim, I would never take part in the puja.
"If you think that my going there was wrong, then I am very sad and apologetic and I hope you can forgive it and I will try not to repeat such things in the future."
When his attention was turned to an apology-worthy incident -- the kerfuffle at the Benapole checkpost when Shakib's attempt to ward off a selfie-seeking fan led to a broken phone -- Shakib's response was along the lines of "sorry, not sorry". In fact, he did not say sorry at all.
"I don't understand how I would benefit from breaking someone's phone. Perhaps you can answer that better. There are discussions about someone's phone breaking, but I did not break his phone intentionally. Now that we are combating coronavirus, I always try to keep myself safe. It was very crowded there and many were taking photos and I was trying to maintain social distance and do the work that I had to at immigration.
"In that situation, a person came extremely close to me and tried to take a picture. It was then that I tried to move him and my hand collided with his and the phone fell from his hands and maybe it broke. I am very sad that his phone broke but I think, against the backdrop of the pandemic, I think everyone should be careful."