Former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful, considered to be one of the best batsmen in the country’s history, said the thought of killing himself occurred to him many times since his career was thrown into disarray by a match-fixing scandal.
Ashraful stunned the cricketing world by becoming the first Bangladesh batsman to score a century against Australia in a thrilling run chase in 2005, which was also his country’s first ODI win against the cricketing giants. The Dhaka-born cricketer continued to be among the best Bangladesh batsmen but in 2013 a match-fixing scandal in Dhaka Premier League (DPL) brought a premature end to his international career.
Ashraful was distraught with himself as the news broke out. “I wanted to commit suicide when the news was broken by Kaler Kantho [leading Bengali daily] and it occurred few more times,” he told Cricbuzz seven years after the scandal.
“I shared these thoughts with my brother-in-law [Mojibul Alam] and he did the right thing by ridiculing me. He told me that even a great player like Azharuddin has gone through such hardships. The public and the fans will be upset, but I would have to soldier through it.” Ashraful recalled his brother-in-law consoling him after the incident.
Ashraful revealed that his friends would not leave his side as he was vulnerable and would have trouble sleeping.
“I always used to think how can I survive in such a situation, how do I show my face in public, what should I tell my family, what will happen to them, how will I cover up the social stigma which will be inflicted upon me and my family,” said the 35-year-old.
Ashraful also recalled his performance in DPL after the conclusion of the five-year ban. Despite his record run tally in the tournament, the right-handed batsman was ignored by the selectors.
“I know I need to perform extraordinarily if I want to make a return. In 2018 I scored five centuries in Dhaka Premier League – a record which still stands. So, I proved myself and played well but my effort was hardly recognized,” he said.
“After asking for forgiveness there is nothing to do for me. I got the punishment, asked for forgiveness and now if they don’t forgive me then I don’t have anything to do.”
“I realize that they, the selectors, may never really forgive me for what I have done,” Ashraful concluded.
He played 61 Tests, 177 ODIs and 23 T20Is scoring 2,337, 3,468 and 450 runs. He scored six Test centuries and three ODI centuries to his name in an international career that spanned more than 12 years.