Bangladesh news June 6, 2013

Siddons not surprised by fixing allegations

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jamie Siddons, the former Bangladesh coach, has said he wasn't surprised by Mohammad Ashraful's confession in his involvement in corruption during the second season of the Bangladesh Premier League. Siddons, the first former Bangladesh coach to comment on the controversy, also sympathised with the former captain.

"I feel a bit sorry for him but I don't condone it at all," Siddons told The Dominion Post on Thursday. "He's a great young kid so I'm really disappointed for him. He probably got roped in as a 15-year-old when he first started by some other people."

Siddons was in charge of the Bangladesh side from the end of 2007 till April 2011, during which Ashraful was the captain for two years. Siddons and Ashraful had an on and off relationship throughout the Australian's stint, culminating in Ashraful losing his captaincy in 2009 and getting dropped the next year. Upon arriving in Bangladesh, he had famously told the media that he wanted the team to do well and not just wait for Ashraful to score.

Siddons also revealed that he had told the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the ICC, but did not elaborate on the matter. "I made my thoughts known a while ago to the cricket board and the ICC, so I wasn't surprised at all. It's disappointing but I don't think it's surprising. It's a powerful beast the underworld gambling," Siddons said.

He was also mindful of Ashraful's social background, sympathising with the financial load he has had to carry over the years.

"People like Ashraful, he's got 15 people living in his house, he feeds probably five families and on a cricketer's wage over there it's near impossible, so you can almost [understand]. It's a different world that we live in, it's a tough world for him."

Siddons was credited by many for ushering in exciting young cricketers like Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. However, Ashraful batted poorly during his tenure as coach, averaging a shade below 21 in all international matches.