"I am still alive." – Ashraful's domestic ban lifted

“I am still alive.” – Ashraful’s domestic ban lifted


Dhaka – Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Saturday officially lifted the ban on Mohammad Ashraful allowing him to resume playing domestic cricket in Bangladesh.
The former national team captain Ashraful is now allowed to take part in domestic cricket, including the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL), as he served a three-year suspension for involvement in match-fixing and spot-fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2013. However his eligibility to play international cricket must wait another two years.Ashraful, held by many to be the most talented Bangladeshi batsman of his generation, was initially banned for eight years from all forms of cricket for his involvement in fixing. Later, in response to an appeal by Ashraful, the ban was reduced to five years from eight by BCB.
Furthermore, a BCB press release dated September, 2014 stated that “upon production of a certificate of good conduct from the ICC, he (Ashraful) will be eligible to return to cricket on or about August 13, 2016.”
BCB chief executive officer Nizam Uddin Chowdhury Sujan said that Ashraful would be able to join domestic cricket after getting the “Certificate of Good Conduct” from International Cricket Council (ICC).
“We have sent a mail asking for the ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ to ICC. If we get this, he (Ashraful) will be able to play. He can play in domestic leagues as well as BCL. But this depends of selectors. If they want, he will play.”
Having just become eligible to play domestic cricket for the first time since June 2013, Ashraful has two major challenges ahead, both of which have never been achieved in Bangladesh before: He has to forge a career again at the age of 32, and will have to do it after serving a ban of three years.
Talking to ESPNcricinfo on Saturday, Ashraful said, “I want to do well in domestic cricket first, and prove myself. In Bangladesh, cricketers have a hard time after they cross 30 so it will be a challenge. And I will be back after a long gap which has never happened before for a cricketer here. But I am taking up both challenges. I want to play for ten more years, just like Misbah is doing at the age of 42.”
Since Ashraful wasn’t allowed to use any of the board’s facilities, he had to go farther to keep playing cricket in the last three years.
A few months following of the ban enforced by BCB, Ashraful circumnavigated around facilities and tournaments that were outside BCB’s jurisdiction. He played in USA in 2014 and 2015, and this year he played some matches in the UK.
Besides, Ashraful played cricket on hire in Bangladesh during the period of his ban.
“I played plenty of khyap (on hire) matches. I must thank those in Sylhet for regularly calling me to play these matches. I played T20 tournaments in places like Kulaura and Barlekha. I played in Satkhira where Mustafizur (Rahman) having just made his T20 debut got me out second ball. That was some experience.”
“When I was starting off in 2001, I heard stories from Sujon bhai (Khaled Mahmud) and Bulbul bhai (Aminul Islam) about khyap tournaments in Mymensingh and Chittagong, but I never got a chance to play in these tournaments. After 2001, it was always international cricket. So this time I deliberately played in these matches. I wanted everyone to see that I am still alive.”


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