Bangladesh news June 14, 2009

Ashraful keen to continue as captain

Cricinfo staff

Mohammad Ashraful has said he will not resign from the captaincy despite Bangladesh's dismal showing in the ICC World Twenty20 where the side crashed out in the group stages. Against calls for him to resign, Ashraful said he was used to criticism and that the support from the team gave him confidence to continue leading.

"I have no such plan [to quit the captaincy]. The board has given me this job and it's up to them whether they let me continue or not," Ashraful told the Daily Star on arrival in Bangladesh. "But I want to continue as captain because I am enjoying the role and trying my level best. They [the BCB] can remove me if they thought that I have lack of quality to lead the team but I am very much confident and clear about my position."

A rusty Bangladesh, returning from an international lay-off of nearly five months, lost both their group stage matches, including one to Ireland. Their only two wins on tour came during the warm-ups, against minnows Scotland and Netherlands. About a dozen furious supporters rallied at Dhaka airport, carrying placards and chanting "resign, resign" at Ashraful, who apologised for Bangladesh's failure.

On the day Bangladesh went down to Ireland at Trent Bridge Ashraful had termed it "worst match they played on tour" and without a doubt it was. Bangladesh had a terrific opportunity to make the Super Eights, needing to beat only Ireland, but failed.

"I can understand that the fans are very much disappointed and angry after the defeat against Ireland," said Ashraful. "I don't mind with that when someone demanded my resignation as a captain because even my family is upset with our performance. I can apologise for it.

"But I think it's unwise to take a final decision after a one match performance. One should understand that our performance was not bad in England except the Ireland match. And I don't think under my captaincy the team's performance declined rather we have some encouraging performances and there was a sign of improvement in the team's performance."

Jamie Siddons, Bangladesh's coach, had slammed the team's showing after the loss to Ireland and Ashraful said he had spoken out of frustration. "This kind of questions didn't rise when we played good cricket in the practice matches and even against India in the first Group match. I think he told this out of frustration because it was really painful to accept the fact that we didn't qualify for the second round.

"I'm not afraid of any criticism because it's nothing new to me. I don't mind when people criticise me because they have high expectations of me," said Ashraful. "But what I believe that my team is in a right track and I am fortunate enough that my colleagues are supporting me."

Ashraful was appointed captain in June 2007 and his job was extended in February this year until the conclusion of Bangladesh's next assignment, a short tour of the West Indies beginning next month, which includes two Tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20.

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