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Ashraful, shameful

Dhaka: The cricketing world was rocked on Tuesday by yet another fixing scandal with former Bangladesh captain Mohammed Ashraful being suspended for corruption, adding another sordid chapter to the spot-fixing saga which has already engulfed Indian cricket.

More than a fortnight after the spot-fixing scandal broke out in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Ashraful’s suspension is the latest case of corruption in cricket which has seen a number of cricketers being arrested in recent times.

“As Ashraful has confessed his involvement in fixing to the ACSU team, so he should not be allowed to play any level of cricket until we get a full report of the investigation,” Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan told reporters.

“I have spoken with Ashraful, he told me that he has confessed everything to the ASCU,” Hassan said, adding that the batsman had not disclosed details of his confession to him.

“This is not punishment, this is a temporary measure until we get the full report. We have to take exemplary punishment for such acts, otherwise cricket in Bangladesh will be doomed,” he said.

Ashraful admitted to his involvement and apologised for his conduct.

“I should have not done this injustice to the nation. I feel guilty. I would only say ‘Please, forgive me, my conduct was improper',” he told a TV channel.

“I felt that I have done an injustice, so I have told them (the ACSU team) the truth at the first chance. I tried to help the ICC as much as I could for the welfare of our cricket,” Ashraful said.

“You all know me, I have been playing international cricket for 12 years. I did not tell them a single lie,” he added.

The International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit has been probing allegations of match-fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), a Twenty20 competition.

The ACSU team left Bangladesh on Monday and is expected to hand over the findings of its probe within a week, Hassan said.

During the ACSU probe, the officials suspected many of the matches in the league were not clean, Hassan said.

“This is no more limited to the BPL... The ICC itself will launch a full-fledged massive investigation into those allegations,” he said.

Interestingly, Ashraful had also played in the second edition of the IPL, which was held in South Africa. He represented the Mumbai Indians and played a single match, scoring just two.

The alleged fixing involves a match between the Dhaka Gladiators and the Chittagong Kings teams during the second edition of the BPL. The 28-year-old Ashraful was allegedly paid about $12,800 to lose the February 2 match, but the cheque he was given later bounced, according to the local media.

He was also allegedly involved in fixing another match 10 days later, against the Barisal Burners, which his team lost by seven wickets, the reports said.

The allegations are the latest to hit Bangladeshi cricket. Former Bangladesh spinner Shariful Haque was banned in September after an inquiry found him guilty of spot-fixing during the first edition of the BPL.

A Pakistani national was also arrested on separate spot-fixing charges last year. In March, the BCB handed umpire Nadir Shah a 10-year ban after a sting operation by an Indian TV channel found him apparently willing to fix matches for cash.

Ashraful became the country’s youngest Test centurion in 2001 at the age of 17 and captained Bangladesh between 2007 and 2009.