Former Bangladesh sensation Mohammad Ashraful nears ban end; eyes international return

The man has played 61 Tests and 177 ODIs for Bangladesh between 2001 and 2013.

Mohammad Ashraful
Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh. (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)

Mohammad Ashraful, once known to be Bangladesh’s teen sensation, is hoping to return to international cricket as his five-year ban for charges related to match-fixing and spot-fixing is nearing its end. Ashraful, 34 now, was banned from Bangladesh’s domestic cricket for three years and international cricket for five years for fixing charges in the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League.

Ashraful shot to fame as a 17-year-old in 2001 when he became the youngest centurion in Test cricket, hitting 114 against Sri Lanka in the Asian Test Championship. It was also a century on debut which made him his country’s second batsman to achieve such a feat after Aminul Islam. Ashraful also served as Bangladesh’s captain in the mid-2000s. His maiden century in ODIs was also memorable as it helped Bangladesh beat the then world champions Australia by 5 wickets in Cardiff in 2005.

Ashraful’s ban will end on Monday, August 13, and the talented batsman is eyeing an international return after that. “I have been waiting for August 13, 2018 for a long time now. It has been more than five years since the day I admitted my involvement,” he told ESPNcricinfo, “Although I have played domestic cricket in the last two seasons, there is now nothing preventing me from being eligible for national selection. Playing for Bangladesh again will be my greatest achievement.”

The man has been a prolific performer in Bangladesh’s domestic tournament during his days of international ban, especially in the 50-over format. He averaged 47.83 and scored five centuries on the 2017-18 season though at the first-class level, his figures are much less impressive – one century in 13 games and an average of 21.85. With the Asia Cup coming up in September, Bangladesh could well look up to him as a middle-order probable.

“The first season after my return wasn’t great but I did well in the 2017-18 season. I hope to do even better in the coming seasons. Now I can be considered for selection through my performance. I have already gone through a month-long training program and after August 15, I will go into pre-season training leading into the upcoming season’s National Cricket League,” Ashraful said.

The man has played 61 Tests and 177 ODIs for Bangladesh between 2001 and 2013.