Team mates show support for Mohammad Ashraful

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Group B, Bangladesh v India - Cricket World Cup 2007Mohammad Ashraful has continued to be the subject of discussion at all levels of the public sphere in Bangladesh over the last four days. Some of his national team-mates have also weighed in, expressing their surprise at his admission of involvement in match-fixing and spot-fixing during the second edition of Bangladesh Premier League.

Shakib Al Hasan said he had also heard questions about February’s BPL match between Dhaka Gladiators and Chittagong Kings, but wasn’t around the players’ dugout long enough to understand the situation.

“After the match everyone was talking about it. The opposition players were asking us, ‘so you’ve thrown the game?’ Shakib told the press. “They were asking questions about Dhaka’s slow batting and the big no-ball (by Gladiators’ Mahbubul Alam).

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“I was not present in the dugout for too long. I was working on my injury inside the dressing room. Since I didn’t play that game, I can’t be sure how difficult the wicket was for batting.”

Shahriar Nafees, a student of the same cricket academy where Ashraful began his career, lauded his courage to speak the truth, but wanted just punishment for the guilty. “This is a sad chapter in Bangladesh cricket.” Nafees said. “I have to compliment his courage to come out and confess. I am feeling bad for him, but if he has committed the crime, he has to be punished appropriately.”

Mushfiqur Rahim, Ashraful’s Bangladesh captain for the last two years, sent him a text message that said: ‘Allah will be looking after you for being able to gather the courage to confess your guilt before you die. Thanks for the honesty you have shown and I hope you will again return to the cricket field.’

Other team-mates like Enamul Haque jnr and Alok Kapali also spoke out. “I was totally shocked when I read about it in the newspaper,” said Enamul.. “It seemed like someone close to you was going far away as I heard his confession.”

Alok Kapali, who was among 13 Bangladeshi cricketers who left for the Indian Cricket League in 2008 and was ostracised as a result, had a different message for Ashraful. “I am feeling bad for him but I don’t think we need so much money in our life that we need to get involved in fixing.” Kapali said. “Look at Shakib, he is playing the world over. If you play well, money will follow you.”