Bangladesh news November 1, 2010

Ashraful handed top-level central contract

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mohammad Ashraful has been awarded a top-level central contract despite not playing in Bangladesh's recent historic 4-0 one-day series victory against New Zealand. He is one of six players handed an A+ deal with the board and is among 16 contracts handed out across four levels along with two rookie players.

Ashraful has been in and out of the Bangladesh squad throughout the year, which began with him missing the home series against England in March before being recalled for the return contest during May and June where he played both Tests at Lord's at Old Trafford. Following a poor Asia Cup in Sri Lanka he was then dumped again only to be recalled as injury cover during the one-dayers in England.

However, patience again ran out for the visit of New Zealand last month where Bangladesh secured their first series victory against major opposition but Ashraful, who averages a disappointing 23.45 after 163 ODIs, is clearly still close to the selectors' thoughts with four months to go until the World Cup.

The other players handed top contracts are unsurprising with Tamim Iqbal, who missed the New Zealand series with a wrist injury, named alongside captain Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan, Abdur Razzaq and Mushfiqur Rahim.

The A-band of deals on the level below include Junaid Siddique, who has been a solid presence at No. 3 during the year after hitting his maiden Test century against England in Chittagong, along with allrounder Mahmudullah and fast bowler Shahadat Hossain.

Raqibul Hasan, the middle-order batsman, who angrily announced his retirement during England's tour to Bangladesh after being omitted from the squad before reversing his decision, has been given a C-grade contract. Enamul Haque, the left-arm spinner, and middle-order batsman Mehrab Hossain were the two players not to have their contracts renewed from the previous batch.

Bangladesh's next assignment will be hosting Zimbabwe for a one-day series some time before Christmas and that is another contest they will be expected to win following the impressive displays against New Zealand.

Grade A+ Masrafe Bin Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzak, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal

Grade A Shahadat Hossain, Junaid Siddique, Mahmudullah

Grade B Syed Rasel, Raqibul Hasan, Nazmul Hossain, Naeem Islam, Imrul Kayes, Rubel Hossain

Grade C Shafiul Islam

Rookie Grade Jahurul Islam, Mohammad Sohrawordi

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