Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Mohammad Ashraful - wasting his talent

Ashraful is like a combination of Mark Ramprakash and Ian Bell, perhaps not quite as talented as either, but surely for Bangladeshi fans, equally if not more frustrating.

In ODIs, after 156 matches, he averages 23.9 and in tests its even worse, after 99 innings (100 and 101 will occur in the current test against India) he averages 22.9. He is probably the most talented batsman to come out of Bangladesh so far, though the likes of Tamim, Mahmudullah and Shakib al-Hasan are vying for that spot, and yet he continually fails to get the big scores.

And its not just that he doesn't get the scores, its the way he gets out that is so frustrating. I've watched him a few times recently, in the current test series against India and also in the tri-series against Sri Lanka and India. He almost invariably gets to 12 or 16, purely in dashing boundaries, and then plays an airy waft at another and gets out. The crowd seem to adore him still, which is all the more baffling!

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, came out and said that the only reason Ashraful hasn't been dropped is because of a lack of quality alternatives. This is quite a statement to make regarding one of his senior players. But for a coach, he must be the height of frustration. Anyone who saw him hit THAT hundred against Australia at Cardiff would justifiably have marked him out as the finest Bangladeshi talent of this generation, but he's never quite hit those heights again and I wonder if he ever will.

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