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Disgraced Bangladesh player Mohammad Ashraful shines with ball on return


Bangladesh ex-captain returns to domestic cricket with a three-wicket haul.

Mohammad Ashraful
Mohammad Ashraful was trumps with the ball after returning from a three-year ban

Mohammad Ashraful, the former Bangladesh skipper, shone with the ball on his return to competitive cricket after a serving a three-year suspension for match-fixing charges.

Playing for Dhaka Metropolis in the National Cricket League, his first domestic first-class tournament, Ashraful grabbed 3 for 49 against Barisal Division on the first day of the four-day match.

In fact, this was Ashraful's second match since the lift of the ban on August 13. The first four-day match was washed out after 15 overs, and Ashraful did not get to bowl or bat.

Mohammad Ashraful admitted to spot-fixing during the BPL 2013 season. A shocked Bangladesh Cricket Board reacted immediately by suspending him from all forms of the game until the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) submits its report on investigations into fixing. 

The alleged fixing involves a match between the Dhaka Gladiators and the Chittagong Kings during the second edition of the BPL. Ashraful was allegedly paid an amount close to $12,800 to lose the match, but the cheque he was given later bounced as per reports. He was also believed to be involved in fixing another match a few days later, against the Barisal Burners, which his team lost by seven wickets. In June 2014, the Bangladesh Cricket Board found him guilty and banned him for eight years.

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The initial eight-year ban came in 2014 after a teary confession of helping to fix matches in the scandal-hit Bangladesh Premier League. The tournament was eventually suspended in the event of the revelation but resumed in 2015 with six new franchises. A local appeal panel in September 2014 shortened Ashraful’s ban to five years, including a two-year suspended sentence. 

Ashraful, 32, has only served three years which makes him ineligible to play for Bangladesh and domestic Twenty20 tournaments for two more years.

"It’s a relief that I could get some play finally,” Ashraful said from Khulna, where the four-day match is taking place. “The wicket looks really very nice here. So I am now waiting for some batting.”

Ashraful, a former captain, made his name in International Cricket as a fearless batsman. He is Test Cricket's youngest century-maker at the age of 17 when he made 114 against Sri Lanka. He has played 61 Tests, scoring 2737 runs at an average of 24. He has represented Bangladesh in 177 ODIs scoring three hundreds at an average of 22.23. 

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