The former Bangladesh cricket team captain Mohammad Ashraful’s five-year ban on playing international cricket officially ended on August 13.
The 34-year-old Ashraful was banned from playing cricket for his involvement in notorious match-fixing and spot-fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2013.
Ashraful got clearance to play in Bangladesh’s domestic competitions on the same day in 2016 and now he will be eligible for international cricket and the BPL.
Now the youngest Test cricket centurion Ashraful has a high hope to get a spot in the national side as he said, “I have been waiting for August 13, 2018 for a long time. Now I can be considered for selection through my performance…Playing for Bangladesh again will be my greatest achievement.”
Agreeing that it’s a difficult task to get a spot in the national team, Ashraful on Monday said, “I know very well that nothing will happen overnight. There is a long process before me to get into the national team again. It will be difficult.”
“But I’m more fit now than I was before. I have already gone through a month-long training programme and will join into pre-season training for the upcoming National Cricket League (NCL),” said Ashraful while talking to media.
“It has been more than five years since the day I admitted my involvement (in wrongdoings). Although I have played domestic cricket in the last two seasons, now nothing is there to prevent me from being eligible for national selection,” Asharful added.
Having the clearance to play in domestic competitions, Ashraful played in the two seasons of Dhaka Premier League (DPL) 2017-18 and highlighted with five centuries in List-A cricket to become the only the second batsman to do so in a single List-A tournament after Alviro Peterson in the South Africa’s domestic circuit Momentum One-Day Cup 2015-16.
Ashraful has batting average of 47.63 in 23 List-A games since the ban was lifted, but his first-class form hasn’t been as good - a 21.85 batting average in 13 matches, with just one century.
In June 2014, the BPL’s anti-corruption tribunal had banned Ashraful for eight years and fined him Tk 10 lakh (USD 12,000 approx) and in September that year, the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) disciplinary panel reduced the ban to five years, with the last two of those years suspended.
BCB and ICC unsuccessfully appealed against the ban reduction. The reduction was subject to his participation in a BCB or ICC anti-corruption education and training programme. Accordingly, Ashraful took part in an anti-corruption programme and during the 2015 BPL, appeared in awareness videos shown to players and officials.
Ashraful’s performance in international career:
Making his international debut with an ODI against Zimbabwe in April 2001, Ashraful played 177 matches and scored 3468, including three centuries and 20 half centuries, at average 22.23 runs.
He played 61 Tests to score 2737, including six centuries and eight half centuries, at average 24 runs.
The cricket genius played less matches in the shortest T20I format compare to two other formats. Ashraful played 23 T20Is and scored 450, including only two half centuries, at average 19.56 runs.
With ball, he got 21 wickets in Tests, 18 wickets in ODIs and eight wickets in T20Is at average 60.52, 36.72 and 26.25 runs respectively.
A timeline of Ashraful’s ban and clearance
May 31, 2013: BCB investigates allegations
June 4, 2013: BCB indefinitely suspends Ashraful. Later that day, Ashraful admits to fixing during the 2013 BPL
January 18, 2014: BPL anti-corruption tribunal begins hearing
June 2, 2014: Ashraful plays in unofficial US tournament
June 18, 2014: BCB bans Ashraful for eight years
July 22, 2014: Ashraful appeals against ban
September 29, 2014: BCB’s disciplinary panel reduces Ashraful’s ban to five years
October 21, 2014: BCB unsuccessfully appeal against Ashraful’s ban reduction
August 13, 2016: Ashraful’s ban from domestic cricket ends
August 13, 2018: Ashraful became eligible to play all international and BPL cricket.