Ashraful expects leniency from ACSU
Mohammad Ashraful expects some leniency from the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, which is expected to present its report on corruption in the BPL to the Bangladesh Cricket Board this week. A five-member ICC delegation, led by the CEO Dave Richardson, arrived in Dhaka on Monday evening, and will hold a press conference on Tuesday, which will also be attended by BCB president Nazmul Hassan, and where the verdict on Ashraful's involvement is likely to come out.
Ashraful, who was suspended by the BCB after admitting his involvement in alleged match-fixing and spot-fixing in the BPL, believes his confession and cooperation with the ACSU should result in a reduced suspension. For someone who is still to be punished, Ashraful is already considering a long lay-off, and also contemplating a comeback.
"I tried my best to cooperate with the investigation. Now if they take it into consideration, I think my punishment should come down to two or three years," Ashraful said. "I will be 32 after three years. I believe it won't be the end as there are many cricketers who played and are still playing at that age. (Sanath) Jayasuriya did, Sachin (Tendulkar) is still playing."
The ACSU were put in charge of formulating anti-corruption measures for the 2013 BPL, after which they handed Hassan a list of suspects. In mid-May, theKaler Kantha, a Dhaka-based Bengali daily, broke the story that Ashraful was a chief suspect in BPL-related corruption.
Since his admission, Ashraful has been seen in several social events, including Tamim Iqbal's wedding and iftar parties hosted by former BCB president Saber Hossain Chowdhury and has also met the BCB chief. Critics have seen this as an attempt by the former captain to garner sympathy.
A former Bangladesh captain told ESPNcricinfo that Ashraful should be punished "because it would set a good example" but added that he too thinks the punishment could be reduced in light of Ashraful's reported cooperation with the ACSU.
Only a summary of the ACSU's report is likely to be mentioned in the press conference on Tuesday, during which new names are unlikely to come out. Only the findings and recommendations will be revealed, after which the BCB has to follow the ICC's procedure of discipline.
Hassan is yet to confirm if the BCB would set up a tribunal according to its own anti-corruption guidelines to decide the punishment. Hassan, who had earlier said the BCB would adhere to whatever the ACSU report recommends, later back-tracked and said he would act according to the board's own rules and regulations.
With the ICC taking corruption in the BPL seriously enough to send Richardson to Dhaka, it is also likely that the game's governing body will have a major say in the next steps of the process.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here