West Indies in Bangladesh 2011-12 October 20, 2011

Ashraful says he wasn't given a fair chance

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mohammad Ashraful, who was dropped for the two Tests against West Indies, has said he has not been given a fair chance by the Bangladesh selectors. Ashraful said chief selector Akram Khan had told him that he would sit out the second and third ODIs against West Indies, but would return for the Tests. Ashraful ended up playing the second one-dayer, but was dropped for the third.

"Akrambhai told me ahead of the second ODI that I should sit out the next two and play in the Test," he was quoted as saying in the Daily Star. "I told him that I want to play the remaining games and earn my way into the Test side. How can there be a guarantee in cricket? I wanted to play out the ODI series and take it from there."

Khan, though, said he had not made any promises and whatever he said to Ashraful had simply been encouragement. "I don't know what Ashraful has said but I talk to players all the time and I say a lot of things to encourage them," he said. "These issues get ignored when they do well but not so when things are not right."

Ashraful scored a patient 73 in Bangladesh's last Test, against Zimbabwe in August, but had not scored a half-century in 16 Test innings before that. His form in ODIs has been woeful: his last ODI half-century was in January 2010, since then he has averaged 10.11 in 18 one-day innings with a highest score of 31. He defended that record saying he had not been given an extended run and his form had suffered from being in and out of the side.

"I know I haven't scored a half-century in 18 games," he said. "Players have careers that don't last that long but I have played those matches intermittently, where I would get dropped after one or two matches. I never got a full stretch. Here too [in the ODIs against West Indies] I was going to be dropped after the first game, which has happened often in the past."

Akram Khan also rubbished rumours that Ashraful's exclusion had been due to pressure from higher-ups in the Bangladesh Cricket Board. "This is absolute rubbish," Akram said. "He was omitted only on account of his ordinary performance. If we had acted upon pressure or sentiments from different quarters, then he would not have been in the one-day team.

"We were not getting what was expected from Ashraful. He bats at No. 3 but he wasn't contributing in several ways so we want to go with the other option, Shahriar Nafees."

Bangladesh's coach Stuart Law had reacted to the decision by saying it was a necessary one to send players the message that they needed to perform consistently to be picked, though he said Ashraful's career was not over.