Ashraful eyes Bangladesh comeback through Afghanistan Premier League

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Bangladesh cricketer Mohammad Ashraful runs during a practice session at The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on March 30, 2013. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will play one Twenty20 match in Pallekele on March 31. AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sports desk: Former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful said on Tuesday (September 4) that he is eyeing a comeback through the upcoming Afghanistan Premier League slated to begin from October 5 in UAE.

Ashraful, who was touted as the biggest thing in Bangladesh cricket, was slapped with a five-year ban from all forms of cricket following his involvement in match-fixing and spot-fixing in the 2013 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League. Having served his time off the field, Ashraful is now raring to make a comeback and represent his country again.

”I am looking forward to take part in the APL if any team chooses to pick me from the draft,” Ashraful told Cricbuzz on Tuesday as he was attending a program organized by local fans.

”I am expected to be placed in the draft,” he said.

”If I can manage to get a team, it will be exciting for me as the platform will help me to answer a lot of questions that is raised regarding my fitness and form in the recent times,” he added.

The inaugural edition of the league, which will consist of five franchises, is scheduled to be held from October 5 to October 23, will include both Afghan and foreign players. The 34-year-old was initially slapped with an eight-year ban by a special anti-corruption tribunal set up by the board in July 2014 for his involvement in match and spot-fixing in BPL 2013.

A one-member appeal panel had then reduced his ban to five years, with the last two years to be reprieved upon producing a certificate of good conduct from the ICC through participation in the ‘anti-corruption education and training programme’.

Ashraful is aware of the competition that exists and knows what it takes to wear the red-and-green jersey again. His determination has only increased after listening to the chief selector’s words regarding his comeback.

”At the moment there is no place for him in the national team,” chief selector Minhajul Abedin told reporters at Mirpur on August 12, a day after Ashraful had revealed his urge to make a comeback into the national side.

Ashraful, who was in England during the time when his ban was upheld, came to attended a public function for the first time after the ban ended. He mentioned that he is not in a hurry and firmly believes he can be a trendsetter.

“It is true that in our country after the retirement of Suman [Habibul Bashar] and Rafique [Mohammad Rafique], there is hardly any instance of players playing for 37 to 38 years,” said Ashraful.

”But I want to be a trendsetter. Mashrafee is still playing, that is very inspiring while if the batsmen cannot make a comeback it is because they are unable to perform extraordinarily,” he said.

”I have spoken with BCB president Nazmul Hasan and the BCB CEO and they assured me if I can perform, the door of the national team is open for me,” he added.

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