SL Emerging Team v Bangladeshis, Matara, 3rd day March 5, 2013

Ashraful targets second coming


Mohammad Ashraful will see a doctor in Galle for an eye allergy that has recurred several times in the last eight years, ahead of what is now certain to be his first Test match in more than a year. The problem hasn't affected his batting so far, but Ashraful wanted it checked as a precautionary measure, rather than ride on luck as he has done during the home season.

It wasn't good fortune, however, that brought him a century in Bangladesh's tour game in Matara. Ashraful worked hard to reach his second first-class hundred this season, this one being as crucial as the one in Bogra a few months ago.

Ashraful had recently said playing in that Bangladesh Cricket League game was lucky, because he had been woefully out of form and was almost on the verge of giving himself a break from cricket. He later scored a hundred in the BPL too, which he also believed was due to luck. One would imagine that his last-minute inclusion in the Test side for Sri Lanka was also fortunate, after Shahriar Nafees suffered a freak accident at home.

There was little luck, however, during his 102 against the Sri Lanka Development Emerging Team. He steadily built an innings that looked un-Ashraful like, but was more effective than the blitzes he is famous for. His effort helped his team score 479.

"I wanted to build an innings," Ashraful said after the game had ended in a draw. "I tried to leave a lot of balls, kept my eye on making sure we have a partnership. Sometimes when the bowling is good and you are not settled, the best place to bat is at the non-striker's end. I tried to do that today, especially at the start of the innings."

Ashraful averages 22.60 in 57 Tests, but he believes a second coming is possible. He also picked a role model in a bid to bring his faltering career back on track.

"I am trying to resurrect my career like [Tillakaratne] Dilshan did since 2009. I would play in the same way, but I want to bat in the top order and take it from there. I think I am at an age when I want to have a second coming, and from the top order, I think I can target that. I haven't had a great career so far, so I want to grab this opportunity."

Dilshan had changed position as a batsman, turning himself into a destructive opener in the 2008-09 season, and has been more consistent compared to when he was an allrounder batting lower in the order.

Ashraful's humility about an unfulfilled career could make a difference in the next two weeks.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    This is a joke averages 22 after 57 Tests.

    Comparing himself to Dilshan is just a joke. Even as a middle order batsman Til Dil played some fine innings. In fact from 10 tests onwards his average has never dropped below 35.

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Love you ash. Just stay in the ground. Try not to play cut shoots.

  • Muhammad Rakibul on March 6, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    2nd coming? Is he kidding? It is rather nth coming for him (n=5/6 or something like that) I can't remember how many times he dropped from main squad & made a comeback only due to lack of batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    Sounds to good to be true.If it works out then it will be a fairytale ending to his faulty career.The only problem is that fairytales seldom comes true.

  • Ragib Shakil on March 6, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Ashraful is the man of BD cricket of that time when there was no player like Sakib, Tamim. At that time he was the only match winner. We all know about his capability to play great innings. But, I think he should had given chance rather than just thrown him out from the team. I think, no coach had spent enough time for him as they do now for tamim, sakib, and others. Look at shewag, Afridi. As a batsman they are not consistent all the time, but they are given chances. Now BD has options, but still they didn't get batsman like of ashraful capability.

  • Sumon on March 6, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    I am not a big Ashraful fan. But his humility is encouraging. Keep your foot on the ground and work hard, Ashraful. Make the good form count.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    This is probably Ashraful's last chance to revive his career.I hope he can make immense.This knock is a confidence booster for him.All the best!

  • Shoaib on March 5, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Ashraful had so much pressure back then where there were no Tamim, Shakib, Rahim etc maybe this is his moment now. He scored a 100 at BCL last month then a 100 at BPL and now a 100 in this tour who knows? still only 28 years of age.

  • rubel on March 5, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    I love u ash... love to see u play ...really i'm saying it from my heart... U have tried a lots of things in your career ... let's try another 1 thing pls ... 4 THE TEST MATCHES .. you forget about hitting boundaries..keep concentrate on singles and doubles and by doing so try to make 40-50 runs then go for your natural stroke playing shots...... just like COOK play ... u can follow him... he scored double hundreds in this fashion against INDIA recently...ALLAH vorosha :) all the best