Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful on Thursday said the ban on all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for failing to report corrupt approaches is a shock to the system.
Ashraful, who was himself handed a five-year ban (two years suspended) for match-fixing in the Bangladesh Premier League in 2014, offered support to Shakib, saying it’s going to be a tough 12 months for him.
Shakib has been banned for two years, one year of that being a suspended sentence.
“Our cases are different. He didn’t inform the fixing approaches to authorities, while I was fully involved in match-fixing. But this is going to be a shock to the system,” Ashraful, who has now returned to playing first-class cricket after his five-year ban, told ESPNcricinfo.
“We love playing cricket. What Shakib is going through is hard to explain in words. I think there shouldn’t be too much news about him. Dealing with so much news was hard.”
Ashraful said he feels sad to see a fellow player suffer a similar fate. The 32-year-old Shakib, who is the top-ranked ODI all-rounder, was found guilty of not reporting approaches from an alleged Indian bookie, Deepak Aggarwal, on three occasions, one of them during the IPL in April 2018.
“I had the belief that no Bangladeshi cricketer would get into this kind of trouble after me. We have very different cases, but still the punishment is to stay away from cricket. I felt bad. Shakib is the No 1 all-rounder in the world. He is our best player.
“When I say Shakib made his mistake, I think he didn’t take it [reporting approaches] too seriously. What also happens now is that everyone will be alert with these approaches. Nobody should make this mistake. We could never imagine that Shakib would make this mistake,” Ashraful said.
Ashraful also said keeping fit was the biggest challenge for him though Shakib won’t have to deal with those many issues.
“I wasn’t allowed to play or train anywhere during the three years. I used to play with lawyers in Dhaka. I played in tournaments in the US where there were no sanctions. I played around the country in different places. ... Shakib wouldn’t have to go through anything like this. He will be allowed to train in Mirpur. He won’t have any problem like I did,” he said.