Before Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza, et al, it was Mohammad Ashraful who ruled the hearts of Bangladesh cricket fans. In many ways, the nation's first cricketing superstar, Ashraful was quick to climb up the stairs of success in the sport, given the talent he possessed.
He made this Test debut just at the age of 17 in 2001 against Sri Lanka, scoring a century to become the youngest to do so on debut. The right-handed batsman's most famous innings came in 2005 when he scored his maiden ODI ton to help Bangladesh pull off a scintillating chase against the then world champions Australia. It was also Bangladesh's first win over the Aussies. The talented cricketer soon became an established star and went on to captain Bangladesh.
He was destined for greater things but all that came crashing down in 2013 when Ashraful was caught involved in a match-fixing scandal in 2013 edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
Ashraful was initially fined and banned for eight years but it was cut down to five on appeal. But for a cricketer who had tasted success very early in his career and rode the wave of popularity, the period of suspension could be a lot lonely and heartbreaking. In an interview with Cricbuzz, Ashraful has revealed that he was suicidal after the match-fixing news broke out.
“I wanted to commit suicide when the news was broken by Kaler Kantho [leading Bengali daily] and it occurred few more times,” Ashraful said.“
"I shared these thoughts with my brother-in-law [Mojibul Alam] and he did the right thing by ridiculing me. He told me that even a great player like Azharuddin has gone through such hardships. The public and the fans will be upset, but I would have to soldier through it.”
Ashraful added that his friends and then Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury helped him get through the tough times. The cricketer, however, has not featured at the international stage since his suspension. His impressive performance in domestic circuit has also went unnoticed. He feels national selectors may "never really forgive" him.
"After asking for forgiveness there is nothing to do for me. I got the punishment, asked for forgiveness and now if they don't forgive me then I don't have anything to do," Ashraful said talking about his time away from the national team since his suspension got over.
Ashraful has played 61 Tests, 177 ODIs and 23 T20Is for Bangladesh scoring 2,737, 3,468 and 450 runs respectively.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
In the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, with homes and livelihoods washed away, most residents in Bangladesh try to survive, some migrate.
On this day in 2019, England lifted the coveted ICC Cricket World Cup trophy for the first time despite not 'traditionally' beating their opponents.
Nasser Hussain commented about how Indian cricket team got tougher under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. Gavaskar took exception to Hussain's opinion, telling him that his perception of the Indian team is entirely wrong.