Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said on Monday that he has set his sights on a comeback with the national side after his five-year ban for match-fixing ended.
“I am feeling really nice as I was waiting for this day for the last five years. (I told myself) when August 13, 2018 came I would be available for national team again,” Ashraful said.
“Over the last five years I never felt I wouldn’t be able to come back. I never lacked this confidence. I always felt I would come back,” he said.
Ashraful was fined and banned for eight years – cut on appeal to five – in 2014 for match and spot fixing during a T20 tournament in Bangladesh in 2013.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board partially lifted his ban in 2016, allowing him to play domestic first-class and List A cricket.
But he was still suspended from international and franchise-based Twenty20 cricket for another two years.
Ashraful, who turned 34 in July, showed a glimpse of his talent in domestic 50-over Dhaka Premier League competition last year when he scored five centuries in 13 matches to accumulate 665 runs at an average of 66.50.
Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin told reporters in Dhaka on Sunday however that Ashraful must prove his form and fitness.
Ashraful, who played 61 Tests, 177 one-day internationals and 23 Twenty20 internationals, acknowledged he has a tough road ahead to revive his international career.
“Of course it will be tough to get a chance in the Bangladesh team,” he said.
“Still I think if I can perform. There is plenty of room for me to serve Bangladesh team. This is what I believe,” said Ashraful.
He said he believed he would face little problem in the dressing room if he was picked again, since he always maintained a good relationship with his former team-mates.
Bangladesh last week completed a T20 series victory over the West Indies in Florida.