Bangladesh A v England XI, Chittagong March 6, 2010

Struggling Ashraful confident of fulfilling promise

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After an ODI series that was perhaps closer than the 3-0 scoreline suggests, the general consensus is that Bangladesh cricket is slowly reaching the standard required to compete on equal terms with the bigger nations in world cricket. But "slowly", unfortunately, is the operative word, and in Chittagong on Sunday, one of the slowest developers of them all returns to centre stage.

Mohammad Ashraful epitomises all the promise and frustration of Bangladesh cricket. When he's in form, he bats with a fluency that few in the world can match - never more thrillingly than during his century on debut against Sri Lanka in September 2001, when he was a carefree whippersnapper of 16, which encapsulated the richness of talent that the country seemed set to produce.

Unfortunately, of late, Ashraful's career has hit the buffers. A wretched tour of New Zealand realised 62 runs in six innings, in all three forms of the game, and followed a threadbare series of performances against India and Sri Lanka, in which he managed one half-century in eight innings.

With the blessing of the board, Ashraful sat out the three ODIs in a bid to clear his mind ahead of next week's Test series, but even that policy didn't quite pay the dividends he'd hoped. In four first-class innings for Dhaka Division, he mustered 21 runs including three ducks, to leave his hopes of a recall resting rather heavily on his performance against England in the forthcoming three-day warm-up.

"In the last couple of months I have not been batting well," Ashraful told Cricinfo. "In the nets I am batting well, but in the middle I get out very early, so that's why I feel I needed a bit of a break from international cricket. But tomorrow is a three-day game, and if I bat well there, I can play Test cricket again."

In Ashraful's absence, Bangladesh have made decent progress against England, particularly in the batting where Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim have formed a promising core of young and motivated prospects. But there's no question in the minds of either the selectors or the coaching staff that a confident and focussed Ashraful would transform the dynamic of their team, by slotting in at No. 3 or 4, and providing a touch of class to an otherwise functional middle-order.

"I still think that he is one of our best players for Bangladesh," Akram Khan, a member of the selection committee, told Cricinfo. "He's played a lot of good innings for us, and so there's no confusion about how good he is. But the last six or seven months, he has not been in good shape, so we are praying that he can finally come good. If he plays well, he can make the difference for Bangladesh, and we are ready for that."

Unfortunately, Ashraful's single biggest problem is the fact that these expectations have already been looming over him for nigh on a decade, and with every new failure, a new solution is thrust into the mix. He was feeling the burden during England's last tour in 2003, when Dav Whatmore dropped him from the Test series in a bid to shield him from the pressures, and his desperation to avoid a repetition of that scenario was one of the main reasons why he sat out the one-dayers.

"Everyone has been talking with me, and giving me advice, so I just needed to go away and work it out for myself," Ashraful said. "I think I have a problem with my gameplan. My batting is okay, but some days I'm very attacking and some days I'm very defensive. That's why I'm scoring only every four or five games.

"I needed to think more, and come up with one solid gameplan, and now I am thinking ball-by-ball and playing positive cricket," he added. "I just haven't scored enough runs recently, but I believe in myself, and if I feel good, Insh'allah they will select me."

The selectors are, by and large, sympathetic to Ashraful's plight. "It happens," Akram said. "When good players play for a long time, they go through periods when their form is not quite there. I think this was the right time [for Ashraful] to get out from there. I know he is trying very hard, and I hope he can come back soon. The boys played very well without him, but we need some experience and he has played a lot of long innings. If he comes back, it can only be good for the Test team."

For all the problems that Ashraful has endured of late, the chance to slot into a team in which his personal performance is no longer the decisive factor can only be a good thing. "In the past there was big pressure on me, but now we have a lot of match-winners," he said. "Now I am just one of the players who has to perform. When we beat the big teams I sometimes play brilliant cricket, but now we have four or five guys who can do that, so I need to step up again.

"It is good for Bangladesh," he added. "When Jamie [Siddons, the coach] came here two years ago, he said he needed more players like me. Now we have a lot of players performing good cricket. They are very confident, and they are not scared anymore. Last year we won 14 games, and even though ten of those were against Zimbabwe, it still shows that we are improving."

As for Ashraful's personal ambitions, he hopes that the coming year can prove to be a watershed in his career. Having given up the captaincy and reassessed his game away from the spotlight, he still believes he is young enough, and sufficiently motivated, to transform an international record that does no justice whatsoever to his talent.

"Scoring in domestic cricket isn't the same as doing it in Test cricket, so it was just good for me to get away," he said. "I definitely see this as a new start. I'm only 26, so if I'm fit enough I can play ten years or more. For the last nine years, I have been up and down, so now I need to perform regularly. My best time is still to come, I think."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mindhunter84 on March 11, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    carbandpunk, I fully agree with the concept of "getting your eye in" that you have mentioned and I am fully aware of it. But you have to accept that different batsmen have different methods of getting their eye in after a long break. May be Shahriar Nafees chose the wrong method at that time, but you cannot judge a batsmen from that innings only. Plus the last ever real game that Shahriar Nafees has played before that innings was a T20. Since you are aware of all the innings that Shahriar Nafees has played then why you are judging him based on that particular innings? I can give loads of example of Ashraful's innings where he has played like a fool without any logical sense. How would you explain that? It was also about comparing Shahriar Nafees with Ashraful. May be Ashraful is more talented but talent without application is nothing. So, I still think Nafees is a far better batsmen that Ashraful.

  • carbandpunk on March 10, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    Mindhunter, I am very aware of how much cricket Shahriah Nafeez has been playing and this is exactly my point. The fact that he had not played for more than 2 years is the reason that the way he was playing against India was the worst way. If a player hasn't played for that long then he should not come back and start hitting right away, he should play defensive and try to get his eye back in. Its a simple concept and since you claim to know anything about cricket i am suprised you weren't able to catch onto that :) and i agree that Rafique needs to come back too lol... perfect bowler to bowl in tandem with shakib

  • on March 9, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    I agree with Mindhunter84 that keeping players like Shahriar Nafees, Alok Kapali and Mohammad AShraful out of the mainstream would only hurt BD causes in the long run. Masrafe is also facing a hiatus and if he sits out for too long it would affect his career. I wouldn't like to see "burnt out" cases from such class and calibre players that many of their predecessors experienced. Remember Javed Omar Gullah, Hannan Sarker, Rajin Saleh, Selim Shahed and Saiful Islam Khan. Their careers were scuppered early due to "rough and tumble" of selection and keeping them out of |selection for a long time. The above mentioned players should at least be kept in The BD A team and depending on their performance shooed in the main team. |

  • iftekharmukul on March 9, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    i think, Ashraful need a long break from International cricket, he need to think about Domestic Cricket for get back his Confidance, Consistancy and dedication for Bangladesh team. No doubt, he is a natural talent. but, if someone not able to put his talent tranform in performance, such talent is burden for any team in any level of cricket.

  • Mindhunter84 on March 9, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    My Bangladesh team would be, For ODIs: Tamim, Nafees, Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib, Mahmudullah, Forhad Reza, Nayeem, Mashrafee, Razzak, Syed Rassel

    For Tests: Tamim, Nafees, Kayes, Rokibul, Shakib, Rajin Saleh, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mashrafee, Shahadat, Shafiul.

    Please, we do not need those batsmen who will score a big one once in a while and then will go into a silence. Ashraful and Aftab are those kinds of players. Ashraful specially suffers from mental problems. He pre-determines lot of his strokes and cannot read the game properly. The thing that makes it worse is that Ashraful cannot or does not learn from his mistakes, as he keeps on doing the same mistake again and again. But they get peoples' sympathy only because of their aggresive batting style. They add no real value to the team. May be they can be considered for the T20s at most.

  • Mindhunter84 on March 9, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    carbandpunk, you have mentioned that Shahriar Nafees was hitting every balls in the test match against India. But do you know for how long Nafees has been away from international cricket before this match? He has been away for more than 2 years and obviously his confidence will be on the lower side and his approach in that Test match can thus be justified. But you cannot judge a player from only one of his innings. You have to look at what he has done in the past. There is no question about his talent. Just look at his previous scores and his average. If you are judging him only by that innings against India then I will have to say that either you forgot about his previous performances or you don't follow cricket properly. On the other hand, Ashraful used to be under pressure when we did not have enough talented and consistent performers. Now we have a number of these players and the pressure on him is considerably less. Even under such condition Ashraful has failed consistently.

  • farhad007 on March 9, 2010, 0:17 GMT

    I believe ashraful plays careless shots too often. He has been given chances after chances on number 3 position and he just did not use the opportunity properly. As a top order experienced player he could have easily raised his average up by playing defensive in many games. Because no matter how good of a shot you play or numbers of year experience you carry on your shoulder at the end of the day your average batting score matters the most. Yes, he has nothing more to prove about his quality of making shots all over the field but until some other ashraful comes along and does a bit better than him we should keep him around.

  • BD_CricFan on March 8, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    I think the biggest mistake the selectors have made was to force Mohammad Rafique into retirement so prematurely. He has still a lot of cricket left in him, a lot of spin magic to mesmerize the batsman on the other end to submission and not to mention can be the go to bowler to hand the ball to when the match is on the line...I wish he was in the BD team in the 2nd ODI against England and bowled the last 2 overs...no way we would have lost the game then. So let's start the chant....Bring Rafique Back!!!....Bring Rafique Back!!!....Bring Rafique Back!!!

  • carbandpunk on March 8, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    I think that all you people are way too harsh on Ashraful, people do worst when they are under tons of pressure and everyone is like that, for example Tamim Iqbal will score a 100 in an opening game batting first, but when we need him to chase down 280 he gets out for 0. Ashraful has that pressure all the time. Everyone says he is inconsistant but when you compare him to Junaid Siddique and Aftab Ahmad and Shahriah Nafeez, there is a bigger chance of Ashraful playing a big innings... mindhunter84 did you even see Nafeez against India? He tries to hit every ball to the boundary and you cant play like that in a test, I have hardly ever seen Siddique and Aftab get past 20, Ashraful may be inconsistant but out of all the choices for middle-order i think he is the best. The team i hope bangladesh go with is Tamim, Imrul, Roqibul Hasan, Ashraful, Rahim, Shakib, Mahmudullah, Naeem, Razzaq, Mortaza and Shafiul. Rubel Hossain always gets hammered...and for the last time give ashraful a break :)

  • benjer on March 8, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    This is the time to take right dicision .Asraful is a talented player there is no doubt but he is totally inconsistence player,he perform not regularly mostly after 4/5 games so in this position we can think about shahriar Nafees of rajin saleh as both are more capable than the asraful.

  • Mindhunter84 on March 11, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    carbandpunk, I fully agree with the concept of "getting your eye in" that you have mentioned and I am fully aware of it. But you have to accept that different batsmen have different methods of getting their eye in after a long break. May be Shahriar Nafees chose the wrong method at that time, but you cannot judge a batsmen from that innings only. Plus the last ever real game that Shahriar Nafees has played before that innings was a T20. Since you are aware of all the innings that Shahriar Nafees has played then why you are judging him based on that particular innings? I can give loads of example of Ashraful's innings where he has played like a fool without any logical sense. How would you explain that? It was also about comparing Shahriar Nafees with Ashraful. May be Ashraful is more talented but talent without application is nothing. So, I still think Nafees is a far better batsmen that Ashraful.

  • carbandpunk on March 10, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    Mindhunter, I am very aware of how much cricket Shahriah Nafeez has been playing and this is exactly my point. The fact that he had not played for more than 2 years is the reason that the way he was playing against India was the worst way. If a player hasn't played for that long then he should not come back and start hitting right away, he should play defensive and try to get his eye back in. Its a simple concept and since you claim to know anything about cricket i am suprised you weren't able to catch onto that :) and i agree that Rafique needs to come back too lol... perfect bowler to bowl in tandem with shakib

  • on March 9, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    I agree with Mindhunter84 that keeping players like Shahriar Nafees, Alok Kapali and Mohammad AShraful out of the mainstream would only hurt BD causes in the long run. Masrafe is also facing a hiatus and if he sits out for too long it would affect his career. I wouldn't like to see "burnt out" cases from such class and calibre players that many of their predecessors experienced. Remember Javed Omar Gullah, Hannan Sarker, Rajin Saleh, Selim Shahed and Saiful Islam Khan. Their careers were scuppered early due to "rough and tumble" of selection and keeping them out of |selection for a long time. The above mentioned players should at least be kept in The BD A team and depending on their performance shooed in the main team. |

  • iftekharmukul on March 9, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    i think, Ashraful need a long break from International cricket, he need to think about Domestic Cricket for get back his Confidance, Consistancy and dedication for Bangladesh team. No doubt, he is a natural talent. but, if someone not able to put his talent tranform in performance, such talent is burden for any team in any level of cricket.

  • Mindhunter84 on March 9, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    My Bangladesh team would be, For ODIs: Tamim, Nafees, Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib, Mahmudullah, Forhad Reza, Nayeem, Mashrafee, Razzak, Syed Rassel

    For Tests: Tamim, Nafees, Kayes, Rokibul, Shakib, Rajin Saleh, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mashrafee, Shahadat, Shafiul.

    Please, we do not need those batsmen who will score a big one once in a while and then will go into a silence. Ashraful and Aftab are those kinds of players. Ashraful specially suffers from mental problems. He pre-determines lot of his strokes and cannot read the game properly. The thing that makes it worse is that Ashraful cannot or does not learn from his mistakes, as he keeps on doing the same mistake again and again. But they get peoples' sympathy only because of their aggresive batting style. They add no real value to the team. May be they can be considered for the T20s at most.

  • Mindhunter84 on March 9, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    carbandpunk, you have mentioned that Shahriar Nafees was hitting every balls in the test match against India. But do you know for how long Nafees has been away from international cricket before this match? He has been away for more than 2 years and obviously his confidence will be on the lower side and his approach in that Test match can thus be justified. But you cannot judge a player from only one of his innings. You have to look at what he has done in the past. There is no question about his talent. Just look at his previous scores and his average. If you are judging him only by that innings against India then I will have to say that either you forgot about his previous performances or you don't follow cricket properly. On the other hand, Ashraful used to be under pressure when we did not have enough talented and consistent performers. Now we have a number of these players and the pressure on him is considerably less. Even under such condition Ashraful has failed consistently.

  • farhad007 on March 9, 2010, 0:17 GMT

    I believe ashraful plays careless shots too often. He has been given chances after chances on number 3 position and he just did not use the opportunity properly. As a top order experienced player he could have easily raised his average up by playing defensive in many games. Because no matter how good of a shot you play or numbers of year experience you carry on your shoulder at the end of the day your average batting score matters the most. Yes, he has nothing more to prove about his quality of making shots all over the field but until some other ashraful comes along and does a bit better than him we should keep him around.

  • BD_CricFan on March 8, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    I think the biggest mistake the selectors have made was to force Mohammad Rafique into retirement so prematurely. He has still a lot of cricket left in him, a lot of spin magic to mesmerize the batsman on the other end to submission and not to mention can be the go to bowler to hand the ball to when the match is on the line...I wish he was in the BD team in the 2nd ODI against England and bowled the last 2 overs...no way we would have lost the game then. So let's start the chant....Bring Rafique Back!!!....Bring Rafique Back!!!....Bring Rafique Back!!!

  • carbandpunk on March 8, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    I think that all you people are way too harsh on Ashraful, people do worst when they are under tons of pressure and everyone is like that, for example Tamim Iqbal will score a 100 in an opening game batting first, but when we need him to chase down 280 he gets out for 0. Ashraful has that pressure all the time. Everyone says he is inconsistant but when you compare him to Junaid Siddique and Aftab Ahmad and Shahriah Nafeez, there is a bigger chance of Ashraful playing a big innings... mindhunter84 did you even see Nafeez against India? He tries to hit every ball to the boundary and you cant play like that in a test, I have hardly ever seen Siddique and Aftab get past 20, Ashraful may be inconsistant but out of all the choices for middle-order i think he is the best. The team i hope bangladesh go with is Tamim, Imrul, Roqibul Hasan, Ashraful, Rahim, Shakib, Mahmudullah, Naeem, Razzaq, Mortaza and Shafiul. Rubel Hossain always gets hammered...and for the last time give ashraful a break :)

  • benjer on March 8, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    This is the time to take right dicision .Asraful is a talented player there is no doubt but he is totally inconsistence player,he perform not regularly mostly after 4/5 games so in this position we can think about shahriar Nafees of rajin saleh as both are more capable than the asraful.

  • on March 8, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    This guy lack common sense! Selectors should bin him and celebrate!

  • farhan995 on March 7, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    Ashraful got more than enough chances to play for national team. After playing 53 Test matches...his average is only 22.78 and 159 ODIs...his average 23.72, and this man still thinks his best time yet to come?? He definitely lost his mind!! Bangladesh doesn't need a player who is worth only 20-25 runs per game. Any time Bangladeshi openers gave their team a good start.. when Ashraful comes to bat at # 3 or #4, he plays one of his innovative shots and gets out in a ridicules fashion and put his team under great pressure. I think because of him, Bangladesh lost more game than won. Selector Mr. Akram Khan and Co... it's time to replace him for good...SERIOUSLY!!

  • Mindhunter84 on March 7, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    Without hoping for Ashraful, our selectors can bring in Shahriar Nafees. Nafees is a very fine player but he was not given proper chance (only one test against India). But on the other hand, Aftab was given lots of chances even after his series of failure. Both Aftab and Shahriar Nafees were excluded from the side due to ICL conflict. But I think Shahriar Nafees deserves more, considering his talent and previous records. He is far better and reliable than Ashraful and Aftab. Even Rajin Saleh can be included in the test side but not in the ODIs. Selectors please put some brain into this selection of the team and do not hope and be driven by emotions.

  • Mindhunter84 on March 7, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    It is a fact that Ashraful has played some spectacular innings for Bangladesh. But those are very rare compared to the amount of game that he has played. He has been given a lot of chances by the selectors but he has shown no improvement. It is not that he has become inconsistent. Actually he was never consistent. He actually lacks steadiness and proper cricketing knowledge. The problem with him is that he does not understand his mistakes or he completely ignores them. He will not develop and I personally do not see any hope with him. He is not mentally stable and should not be included in the side for the sake of the team. Selectors should not consider him from just few good innings in the local leagues or first class matches. He will never improve which he has already proven over the last 10 years. He has not improved for the last 10 years, so, how can you expect him to improve in the future.

  • on March 7, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    ...Ashraful was the 'Asha'r Ful' (flower of hope) of BD.. But now he's 'Asha-hara FOOL'.... Pls forget him for BD team forever........

  • banglafan on March 7, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Ashraful needs more time away from the national team. Roquibul is the perfect No:3 for Bangladesh, our Dravid. I think we have a nicely balanced team now, all it needs is to click.

  • on March 7, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    Is it too late to call back Muhammad Rafiq to the team? He had been a valauable asset to the team. His experience may haelp Captain Saqib a lot.

  • on March 7, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Bangladesh does not need likes of Ashraful anymore. Without him the team looks good. I think Roqibul Hasan should come back to the team with his brilliant 107 not out against England in the recent match.

  • on March 7, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Ashraful is BLR (Beyon Local Repair) and Bangladesh should get rid of him. His latest talent speak for itself a 9 minutes batting display with score of 1 (this is his favorite score) as Captain of Bangladesh A team against England XI.

  • 11Anwar11 on March 7, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    I do believe Ashraful is a good cricketer but he lacks discipline. He need to work on his short selection and his approach. Sometimes he becomes too aggressive and sometimes too defensive, he need to find the balance between the two. He should try to spend as much time as possible in the middle to regain his form and confidence. I hope he comes out of this rut and once again perform to his potential for Bangladesh. I wish him all the best.

  • on March 7, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    raqibul got 107 and ashraful got out for 1.. raqibul averages near 30..its unfair that bd board ruled him out just for 2 failure..

  • rsmehdihasan on March 7, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    See what are Asfraful problems? His main problem is mental strength as well as many of Bangladeshi young starts.Our Under 19 team recently lost the match against Pakistan and West Indies surprisingly. They lost from a place to sure win. problem is mental strength after all cricket is a mind game. We are very much capable and talented like other test playing nations but problem is our mental strength. No one is not thinking and telling about this. See one Cricketer Sakib for his great inspiring captaincy at least now we can show our head up after the match, at least we are earning respect from others that we can fight. Sakib is a product of BKSP and as well as Mushfiq Raahim (current two best) but we need more. So we need a full fetched Cricket Academy where talented player like Ashraful can grow up not only in skill but also mental strength. I follow Bangladeshi recent performance closely, still they miss catches and at a certain period of time they loose their nerve and lost the matc

  • on March 7, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    i'm kindof puzzled seeing Roquibul Hassan's suggestion of correcting techniques of ashraful. i figure he was a selector of Bangladesh's national team, what he had done?. Me think, its people like Roquibul Hassan has been forcing us to digest the notion that 'ashraful is a great talent'. he is just another mr. average started playing cricket during poorer Bangladesh national team. I can recomend 10/12 batsmen in Bangladesh now who should be miles ahead of him both technically and tempermentally. We are doing better Mr. Roquibul Hassan.

  • khurdum on March 7, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    I agree with Selector Akram Khan and Raqibul Hussain about Ashraful's historical talent but don't agree with their attitude to include him in the next Test series against England. He was made Captain of" A" team but failed to contribute during crucial moment for the country.Possibly, the comments of Mr.Raqibul Hussain that runs or no runs Ash should be included in the next Test series has done the damage for the Danger Man and for the cricket as well.In another interview, he has opined very strongly about Ashraful's inclusion in the team for the World Cup 2011. But why? It is not only history that need be counted as criteria for team selection and there are many other factors too.Mr.Ash might have made somebody blind but there are others like Mr.Mostafa Kamal, President of BCCB who does not seem to be blind folded like his predecessor.His leadership will help the team to bring laurels for the country. I know he will upheld interest of the country first 2 save cricket from destruction.

  • Bang_La on March 7, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    Follwing online score of teh batch that Ashraful is playing for Bangladesh XI and already out by scoring 1 after playing 9 balls. Speaks enough about him. I know cricket is a game of uncertainity and many class players were out in the first ball. Still, no class player would be out so porly when fell into Ashraful's situation. He is finished.

  • on March 7, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    I am really sad about Ashraful's poor run! He should have been dropped way earlier so that he can work on his flaws and perform better. Afterall as No.4 batsman he must like be the best batsman in the team. His recent poor run of scores is due to his poor shot selection. I hope he stays out of test cricket for another 3 months and be ready when Bangladesh hosts NZ later this year. He better not tour England in May.

  • on March 7, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    all the best i am sure that u will be back in your style!!!!!!!!!!!al the best..........

  • Bang_La on March 7, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    Harsh but true, dontalon. Its time the management stopped pressing Jamie Siddons to keep Ashraful in the squad, though Jamie himself is an unachiever.

  • khurdum on March 7, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Yesterday, the Bengali daily " Kaler Kantha" has published an article showing deep concern about sailing our Cricket team towards Pakistan in terms of attitude and management holding ex President Ali Asgar Lobi responsible for such downfall. But, now Mr. Mostafa Kamal has taken over as President of BCCB and gave his peace of mind about irresponsibility of our cricketers in the field.He took a strong view about not selecting Ashraful for his consistent failure in the most important batting sequence. During Newzealand toure, i had a bet with 1 of my friend where i said that Ashraful will play ODI like test match and will play Tests like i day matches and he did accordingly to help me winning which i didn't want.The issue is whether he is contributing in the game positively or not.The truth is bitter for him and too bitter for his blind supporters. Everybody should remember that he is being paid ( highest amount) by hard earned money of our poor people & he must be accountable for that.

  • Iftekharul_Hasan_Siam on March 7, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    Ashraful must take at least 6-months break from national team in order to improve from his current form.The excuses that Ashraful gives for his off-form is really "silly".He have to understand that it is part of game.If we get a batsman with lower quality then Ashraful but performing better.We must take his instead of Ashraful.Only being best-quality player is not enough to be in national team.You have to perform.

  • on March 7, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    Well said guys! I can laugh @ you guys all day but that wouldn't help cause you don't know anything about cricket and banlgadesh cricket team, espcially.

    Anyway, Ashraful will be back soon AND good luck to him!

  • on March 7, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Ashraful was once the best player of bangladesh. I used to be glued to TV jst to watch him play bt now there r loads of players to look forward to. yet i feel we need ashraful bcuz he has that uncanny nack of playing a good innings out of nowhere. Even Afridi is not consistent wid the bat bt y does pakistan play him? itz bcuz he has tht magic which can unleash itself netym!!!

  • kingkarthik on March 7, 2010, 3:05 GMT

    Bangladesh does not require MA. He is joke at this point. He has talent, i am not arguing against that, but no performance. His tombstone will read, "Wonderfully talented, but of no use to anyone." Even now, his mind seems cluttered and disjointed. He gets 21 in four innings including 3 ducks and he is hoping to get back to the team, i think bangladesh can do better without him. Let him prove himself in domestic cricket for the next one year and then consider his inclusion, not on the basis of a 3 day game.

  • rsmehdihasan on March 7, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    This is Bangladesh problem. The selectors are spoiling him. No player is not ever bigger then the country. Bangladeshi cricket board, selectors and ex cricketers should think maturely. We need 5-6 good committed player like Sakib not Ashraful. some kind of freak. to play for a country is not a place for fun or someone own property. Ashraful should realize that it is not easy to come back and play cricket for Bangladesh again.He must have to perform in domestic level not only one match but for a certain period of time. And he should fight for a place in the team. i am totally disagree with Akram khan & i have a strong doubt about his cricket knowledge as well as Bangladeshi selectors.i am really disappoint about Bangladesh cricket board. They are earning a lot of money but why they still do not establish a fully facilitated Cricket Academy (not BKSP) like what other countries have. At least we can now start in a small range and each player need to be well educated and strong in mind

  • Bengali-Tiger007 on March 7, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    Well Mr. neighbourhood_dealer, having read your comment now, I just wish that I didn't read it. I anticipate your frustration with Ash's career so far, but lets not forget about the many wonderfull innings he had played in the past. Without Ash, bangladesh's reputation would have been even lower and infact Ash is the only first recognised batsmen which the world still knows today. I think the boy deserves the chance to play the test and the plus point is that its at home in our own backyard. He will gain confidence slowly and I will advise the media to leave him alone until he rebuilds himself. He is still one of my favourite batsmen and watching Bangladesh play without Ash is never the same. I also want Tamim this time to score big.

  • Bang_La on March 6, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Dear Roquibul Hassan. You are so kind to put so many kind words to defend Ashraful. But with all my honesty and all my experience in cricket, I can not think of him even near to your basics. We were your fans not for nothing! Do you seriously believe, Roquibul, that Ashraful possesses cricket sense? Our media loves to put a line like "Bangladesh win when Ashraful plays". They conveniently forget that after almost all of his "winning" play, he was out in most uncricketing fashion. I am sorry, I couldn't agree with your kindness, I am a bad man.

  • Jadic on March 6, 2010, 22:56 GMT

    I have followed Ashrafuls career from the start. He is extremely talented batsman .Without raw talent a 16 year teenager can not produce gem of an innings against master craftsmen Murali and Vassy or play great innings against India ,South Africa and Australia in ODI those he played.Form is temorary but class is permanent.He has the class and is bound to come back.Yes he has another decade of good cricket left in him.Let him play his natural game. I will blame Bangladesh media and BCB partly for his present indifferent form. He was burdened with too much expectation and lot of responsibility early on his career. He should not have been made captain of an underdog team .Media created trememdous pressure on him to perform all the time. In this age of technology opponent teams worked him out.He could not diversify his game and failed to cope with the situation. But he has the class.Should come out of the lean patch soon .The team has some quality batsmen now to share his work load.

  • farhan995 on March 6, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    I think Ashraful himself identified his major problem by himself as he said that "I think I have a problem with my game plan...some days I'm very attacking and some days I'm very defensive. That's why I'm scoring only every four or five games." After playing so many ODIs and Test matches this man still unaware of how to play according to the situation of the game. Ashraful also need to understand that as a top-middle order batsman... he needs to change his game plan according to the situation of the game..he cannot be all defensive when chasing 300 plus runs or can't be overly aggressive when chasing 200 plus runs.. The key is to play your game according to how the game demands him to play for his team to win. He has so many proper cricketing shorts under his belt bot most often he try to play his innovative cricketing shorts and which brings his down fall every time. He needs to take a good look at how Tendulkar changed his game over the years.

  • on March 6, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    ok... as a Bangladeshi Fan.. I can only say... Best wishes for Ashraful.. bcoz if Bangladesh want to do very well in 2011 world cup.. then Team need to have inform Ashraful... Ashraful is a guy who can destroy even Australia or South Africa bowling attack on his day.. and who knows that days will not come in next world cup.... May Allah b helpful to Bangladesh team...

  • on March 6, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    ............................. Best of luck, ashraful! ................................

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on March 6, 2010, 16:04 GMT

    i agree with cranaweera - the kid is still very young. because he made his debut at 16 everyone thinks of him as a veteran but not everyone matures emotionally at the same rate. the pressure on him after those early performances must have been incredible - far greater even than the pressures on sachin when you consider how badly the team was struggling. he has had to come through all of that, carrying the burden of a young country on his shoulders and not surprisingly he found the burden too heavy. now the tigers have some promising young cubs to play around him and support him, hopefully he will come roaring back and prove his detractors wrong. there is too much cynicism masquerading as realism around, what we need is some good old fashioned romanticism - that is what cricket is all about. ashraful is the stuff of dreams and we can all dream that some day our dreams will come true. Go bangabandhu!

  • KingOwl on March 6, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    The man is only 25 years old. In many countries, that is the age when folks get a chance to play their debut test. So, give him a break. I think it will take another 3 years or so to reach his potential.

  • gmaurup on March 6, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    We have been hopeful for the last ten years, Ashraful will be consistent... Mr. Miller hints us we should keep fingers crossed for ten more years! :)

  • on March 6, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Hi ! Andrew. like your piece on Ash. It is high time he again roars ! Me as a Match Referee, have had the opportunity to watch this young talent from close quarter. In your article, he has correctly identified his problem. runs OR no runs in the 3dayer,I feel Ash should play the Test Match at Chittagong. The selection committee should inform him about this now. His presence in the team will not only add experience, but with the selectors confirming him in advance shall be a real tonic for him. Lets face it, you can't go to bat with out a fresh & free mind. This phylosophy applies for all.

  • Bang_La on March 6, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    QUOTE "Everyone has been talking with me, and giving me advice, so I just needed to go away and work it out for myself," Ashraful said. UNQUOTE That is where is Ashraful's problem lies. He is taking prescriptions from all "doctors" to make things worse. If he could not develop his own view and methods to play cricket after playing more than 150 ODI's and 100 Test innings over 9 years, sadly, I think nothing more is left for him. It would not be out of place to recall comments made by Graeme Smith a few years back comparing Ashraful's achievements against himself. The new cricket has its new survival rules for cricketers and different from those of ole day's cricket. Strictly speaking, if one is not good enough to live under the new rules, he is history.

  • neighbourhood_dealer on March 6, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    "When he's in form, he bats with a fluency that few in the world can match"???? how can u say that this guy. his technique is, well its doenst exist, the amount time i seen him getting bowled when attempting a pull shot..well i dont mean from a underedge just straight though and knocking stumps out

    dashiing the when its comes off it looks great, but hes a very very ordinary cricketer, he sucks big time! if Bangladesh really want to progress, need to draw a line under him and move on..he will never be any good..average of about 22 in all form of game after bout 8/9 years in international game not good enuf even for a tailenders these days,

  • Nipun on March 6, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    According to statistics,Ashraful scores a 50 or more every 7 innings in ODIs,& a score of 50 or more every 9 innings in tests.& he thinks he scores in every 4/5 innings ?

  • Nipun on March 6, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    He always thinks his best times are yet to come,doesn't he ?

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on March 6, 2010, 12:21 GMT

    let us hope (pray) so. but holding a press conference the day before such a crucial game for his career is not what i would have recommended - the expectations of the media are a big factor in the pressure he must be feeling. not the best way to "get away from it all" but if he really feels that confident after scoring three ducks in his last four innings then good luck to him!

  • on March 6, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Well.. it seems Ashraful is atleast maturing with his thought process. Hope it shows up in his performances too... Agree to his game going up and down concept, but unfortunately for all his fans, he has been more down than up over the last few years..

  • dontalon on March 6, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    Ashraful is a waste of time...if he were averaging 22 after 53 test for any other test team he would not even be talked about and would have been dropped years ago.. He is only talked about because bangladash is a weak team ;such an average simply means that the guy is no good. Averaging 27 in F C states plainly that he is not a first class cricketer either. This team needs to move on. B' desh needs to look at the big picture and to averages in the 40's ..a team filled with players like ashrufal averaging 20 wont win a game. To think after 53 tests he's going to get better is simply fooling yourself. It's not his age that matters, its his number of tests. Players get burned out because of games played and not age.

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  • dontalon on March 6, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    Ashraful is a waste of time...if he were averaging 22 after 53 test for any other test team he would not even be talked about and would have been dropped years ago.. He is only talked about because bangladash is a weak team ;such an average simply means that the guy is no good. Averaging 27 in F C states plainly that he is not a first class cricketer either. This team needs to move on. B' desh needs to look at the big picture and to averages in the 40's ..a team filled with players like ashrufal averaging 20 wont win a game. To think after 53 tests he's going to get better is simply fooling yourself. It's not his age that matters, its his number of tests. Players get burned out because of games played and not age.

  • on March 6, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Well.. it seems Ashraful is atleast maturing with his thought process. Hope it shows up in his performances too... Agree to his game going up and down concept, but unfortunately for all his fans, he has been more down than up over the last few years..

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on March 6, 2010, 12:21 GMT

    let us hope (pray) so. but holding a press conference the day before such a crucial game for his career is not what i would have recommended - the expectations of the media are a big factor in the pressure he must be feeling. not the best way to "get away from it all" but if he really feels that confident after scoring three ducks in his last four innings then good luck to him!

  • Nipun on March 6, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    He always thinks his best times are yet to come,doesn't he ?

  • Nipun on March 6, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    According to statistics,Ashraful scores a 50 or more every 7 innings in ODIs,& a score of 50 or more every 9 innings in tests.& he thinks he scores in every 4/5 innings ?

  • neighbourhood_dealer on March 6, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    "When he's in form, he bats with a fluency that few in the world can match"???? how can u say that this guy. his technique is, well its doenst exist, the amount time i seen him getting bowled when attempting a pull shot..well i dont mean from a underedge just straight though and knocking stumps out

    dashiing the when its comes off it looks great, but hes a very very ordinary cricketer, he sucks big time! if Bangladesh really want to progress, need to draw a line under him and move on..he will never be any good..average of about 22 in all form of game after bout 8/9 years in international game not good enuf even for a tailenders these days,

  • Bang_La on March 6, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    QUOTE "Everyone has been talking with me, and giving me advice, so I just needed to go away and work it out for myself," Ashraful said. UNQUOTE That is where is Ashraful's problem lies. He is taking prescriptions from all "doctors" to make things worse. If he could not develop his own view and methods to play cricket after playing more than 150 ODI's and 100 Test innings over 9 years, sadly, I think nothing more is left for him. It would not be out of place to recall comments made by Graeme Smith a few years back comparing Ashraful's achievements against himself. The new cricket has its new survival rules for cricketers and different from those of ole day's cricket. Strictly speaking, if one is not good enough to live under the new rules, he is history.

  • on March 6, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Hi ! Andrew. like your piece on Ash. It is high time he again roars ! Me as a Match Referee, have had the opportunity to watch this young talent from close quarter. In your article, he has correctly identified his problem. runs OR no runs in the 3dayer,I feel Ash should play the Test Match at Chittagong. The selection committee should inform him about this now. His presence in the team will not only add experience, but with the selectors confirming him in advance shall be a real tonic for him. Lets face it, you can't go to bat with out a fresh & free mind. This phylosophy applies for all.

  • gmaurup on March 6, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    We have been hopeful for the last ten years, Ashraful will be consistent... Mr. Miller hints us we should keep fingers crossed for ten more years! :)

  • KingOwl on March 6, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    The man is only 25 years old. In many countries, that is the age when folks get a chance to play their debut test. So, give him a break. I think it will take another 3 years or so to reach his potential.