I’m so lucky to see people still remember and support me: Ashraful
On August 13, 2018, Mohammad Ashraful, the former Bangladesh skipper and a fallen star figure of the country’s cricket, has served five long years of suspension for match fixing probe.
Aplenty of conversation and pondering over the probability of watching Ashraful in the national side once again in the going weeks proved he is still a rhythmic character in Bangladesh cricket.
Hitting the international headlines at the age of seventeen by becoming the youngest Test centurion, little built Ash knocked out big opponents with picturesque performances in the days when team Bangladesh were not among manifold winning habituate.
Currently playing in several local matches in East London, Mohammad Ashraful talked with Bangla Cricket Podcast about his present and future plans for cricket as he is now eligible to play in all formats. When Ashraful, once called ‘the little master’ of Bangladesh cricket, was asked how it feels to be free at last and became eligible for playing all sorts of cricket; he said,
“In last five and half years, I’ve been waiting for this day. I worked hard on my skills and fitness level for all these years so that I could come back once the ban lifted.”
“In the last Dhaka Premier League, I was among top five scorers. With three consecutive hundreds, I score a total of five tons in the league. I feel that if I could improve my batting ten to fifteen percent, I might have a chance to play for Bangladesh once again,” Ashraful said.
“I’m dreaming to play for my country. I want to gift many more good knocks for my fans.
“People is still remembering me for few memorable innings I played back then” he added.
“I’ve to come England for about twenty four days; actually now in Bangladesh, rainy season are running in. I’ve been practicing since my arrival in England and played three matches so far in Oval, Victoria Park and East London and there are few more to come. I always enjoy playing in England especially in the months of June and July when the prevailing weather here is almost like in Bangladesh” Ashraful said.
“Actually I needed match practice,” he said.
When he was asked how the memories of Cardiff evoke while visiting England, Ashraful said, “Always, the 2005 NatWest Series in England elevated me into a height, especially to the fans. The century against Australia and the 94 off 52 balls against England are always something special.”
“For batsmen, wicket conditions are good here in England in the month of June/July with even bounces,” he said.
“All of my international innings are favorite to me; some of them took Bangladesh cricket in a new level like my first Test century as the youngest in the history uplifted Bangladesh cricket immensely and the hundred against world number one Australia when no team were quite capable to beat them,” Ashraful said when he was asked about his favorite innings.
“And it is true that no one could imagine a Bangladesh batsman played like that the way I scored 94 in 52 balls against England. My 158 not out against India in Chittagong is also an incredible achievement for me. Lastly I scored 190 against Sri Lanka before Mushfiqur smashed that double hundred. To me, all of them are specials and unique,” Ash added.
“Considering the cricketing perspective my best innings is probably 87 against world number one South Africa in 2007 World Cup because there were all sorts of cricketing shots, especially the scoop and with a hundred percent strike rate,” he reckoned.
Ashraful told it feels painful for not being able to be with the team now when Bangladesh are getting more successes than ever before.
“Yes, it feels sad,” he said.
“It feels sad not to be with this successful team,”
“But this is life as I’ve committed some mistakes. I always try to forget all these and look forward to achieve more of goodness if Almighty wishes,” Ashraful said.
“I feel really really lucky to see how fans and my countrymen in and outside the country are remembering and supporting me till to date even after I have been absent from all kinds of cricket for last five years.
For all of them, I tried to work hard to maintain myself so that I one day I could come back and gift more of good innings. I’m lucky to be born in Bangladesh and played for my country,” he said.
“I’m heartily thanking all of my friends for the tremendous supports and encouragement they are providing for all these times despite my mistakes. Hope everyone would pray for my comeback and success in the near future,” said Ashraful.