Dhaka Gladiators v Khulna Royal Bengals, BPL 2012-13 February 11, 2013

'I felt as if I had forgotten how to bat' - Ashraful


Mohammad Ashraful thought he had forgotten how to hold the bat after a torrid start to the 2012-13 season. But a first-class hundred on the normally flat Bogra wicket, which he considered a lucky break, and now an unbeaten 103 against Khulna Royal Bengals in the BPL have completely turned around his form, and possibly his mindset towards making runs.

He averaged only 13.22 for Dhaka Metropolis in the National Cricket League, aggregating 119 runs in nine innings. There were questions raised after he was included in the Central Zone side for the year's second first-class tournament. Not many would have expected him to make two centuries thereafter as the usual wait for the Ashraful special had dissipated years ago.

"During this season's National Cricket League, I felt as if I had forgotten how to bat," Ashraful said. "Even after the first match of the BCL, I didn't feel like playing anymore in the tournament. But I was persuaded by [Mahmudullah] Riyad and then I was lucky to play in Bogra, where there's a flat wicket and I scored a hundred."

Ashraful believed that had he been under less pressure from the public and the media, he could have played more freely. Maybe the freedom from the limelight has helped him regain confidence in this season's BPL.

"You need luck to make big runs and today luck was on my side. If I score 20 or 25 runs in the next game, everyone will say that I have flopped. In the last two games, I hit the ball straight to fielders. It was my bad luck, so when people talk about it, the pressure goes up.

"There's less pressure in BPL, I can play my shots. I was confident I would do well here. It also helps to bat in the top-order, especially opening the batting in T20s. I think this year more local players are getting opportunity at the top order," he said.

He made a slow start to this year's BPL before hitting 73 against Rangpur Riders in the second game. His next best had been 38 until today, so presented with another big chase, Ashraful hardly changed his method of batting in a Twenty20.

"I don't think you can play T20s with a hundred in front of your mind. You have to play it ball by ball. I had the chance to slow down. I could have just picked the singles towards the last two overs but I was thinking of finishing the chase.

The only moment during the 58-ball innings when he thought a century was a possibility was when he had taken a breather after ten overs. But even after he was dropped off a difficult chance on 94, he hardly believed it was coming.

"After 10 overs, my score was 56. I thought if I played all the overs, I will have a chance. I wanted to be aggressive from the start, because I think this was the best wicket so far in the tournament. When they made 176, we all thought they were 20 runs short. I was told to play straight, and with that in mind, I continued doing so," Ashraful said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Babaji on February 13, 2013, 23:35 GMT

    Again, absolutely clueless Bangladesh fans showering praises without simple scrutiny. Just look at this guy's average- he has a poor average of 22 in both versions of the games. If this is what talented means then God Bless Bangladesh cricket.

    If career average or scoring runs is not the criteria then he is very talented.

    This is a classic case of a one-eyed man in a city of blinds. I really hope this player develops his skills and hone his talent at performing in both versions of the game.

  • Nazmus Saadat on February 13, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    Though, there are as many as players t0 get chance in the nati0nal squad, we n0tice with sheer frustati0n that there is no such useful Fast Bowlers being created like we are having many useful spinners. In recent days, we saw that though Nazmul Hossain did g00d in the intl. matches, he didn't have much chances to pr0ve himself. We need to give him such chances. Moreover, Talha Zubayer, a rising seamer, being a good b0wler, didn't get chance at BPL.

    We sh0uld n0t only depend on spin, because we d0n't play matches in 0nly Indian sub-c0ntinent. We have to play in Aus, New Zealand, RSA, WI, ENG where Seamers get m0re advantage than Spinners get. So, it's a gr0wing c0ncern f0r us. For that, we need to make pitches n0t only fav0urable for spin but also for seam. Then, we will see many seamers will come out. .

    BCB should think over it. Otherwise, it will be a bad headache for BangLadeshi Cricket.

  • Nazmus Saadat on February 13, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Ashraful is young en0ugh t0 carry on his career for long time. But it's nice to see that there are many p0tential players, along batsman, bowlers and allr0unders, in the pipeline for BANGLADESH. Shamsur, Nazmul Hossain, Mukhtar, Taijul, Monir, Marshal, Shabbir, Naeem Jnr etc are m0st of them. And there are many young and emerging players like Nasir, Anamul, Gazi, Enamul Jnr, Mehrab Jnr, Abul Hasan, Farhad, Shafiul, Rubel apart from Shakib, Tamim, Mushi, Mahmudullah, Murtaza etc.

    Thus, there is going to be c0mpititi0ns t0 get chance in the national squad that did n0t exist in the past.

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    I was utterly disappointed for the series of comedies Ashraful performed in the match against Burners right after I posted my first comment on this article yesterday.

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Those who support ash and says about his contribution, i don't see anything to object with their comments. To do justice with him, he was selected & given chance to play at home & abroad consistently though he remained in-consistent for all forms of cricket since long.No other player got so much of chance like him in spite of poor performances continuously. Mentally, he is sick. He cannot accept good performance of others with grace. Lot many young stars are waiting in the line to bring laurels for the country. They shown their talent by now. They need good examples from seniors like Mash, Tanim, Shakib, Razzak are showing now. Ashrafuls activities will be highly demoralizing and will lead our future generation towards wrong direction. We need good men / women for all sectors. They may perform differently but will not jeopardize teams spirit as a whole. If u don't believe, let him remain as Gladiator's Captain- you will see the result soon yourself. Keep ash out permanently. NO ALT.

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    If there is no doubt about his batting ability, then there is sure doubt about his mentality. We still remember the issues for which Shakib and Tamim was axed from their Captaincy very harshly without even minimum ceremony. In those days, we also know how ashraful manipulated things to occupy top position as Captain. But, luckily enough that selectors didn't fall in the trap & Mushfiq got the chance as Captain since then. The way Shakib cooperated with Mushi after loosing his position as Captain- ash didn't. If Mushi fails, people will start talking about him again. After 100 in BP L, he stated in the interview that he can do wonder as Captain only. Is that so? What he did yesterday? When Dishan was out after scoring 32 in 10th over, ash scored only 16 playing 23 balls. Shakib got in after Dilshan's departure and scored 8 in just 2 balls. In the next over, ash called for run, Shakib responded, but ash didn't move from his place. Cricinfo commentator said" what have u done ash just now?

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    I enjoyed his full batting time. He was so excellent as he is on his day. I think he should follow Tendulkar's advice not to read or see media's news. If he can stop this then he may keep out of some pressure. And also our selectors should give him a chance for one full series where they should give full freedom to him. They can relieve some pressure from him by doing the same thing what Dhaka owner did (Owner said to Ashraful, Just play your own game even if you can't score any runs, you will be selected in the squad for full tournament) before starting the tournament. Best of Luck, Ash!

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Welcome back Ash!! Please keep it up this time.

  • Mike on February 12, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    That's why Mohammad Ashraful should not play for the national team again because he is simply not consistent. Today he scored 20 of 31 balls and cost his team victory and we simply cannot afford using such players in the national team if they play bad and are inconsistent. He had his chance that's it and only has himself to blame and I don't care how much talent he possesses because talent alone doesn't make you great one bit. I feel it would be a grave mistake to select him for national team again and its time to move on and give our new young guys a chance. Thankfully this T20 stuff will be over in Bangladesh soon and can now focus on International Cricket the long forms which is the real Cricket so lets not turn like India and get Bangladesh to be a proper good Cricket team for once.

  • Dummy4 on February 12, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    we dont need him anymore its time to look forward