Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Despite being banned indefinitely by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) after admitting to being involved in corrupt activities during the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), disgraced captain Mohammad Ashraful recently featured in a cricket tournament in the United States.
Ashraful was representing Pegasus CC in the LA T20 Championship, which took place in Los Angeles on May 23-26.
Even though the tournament was sanctioned by the USA Cricket Association (USACA), the board’s executive secretary Mascelles Bailey claimed that he had no knowledge of banned players participating in the event.
“If a person doesn’t know, why would you penalise somebody? We would have to make further precautions going forward,” Bailey said. “They were already told not to participate in any tournament where a banned player is playing. I would assume they would know better by now. If they knowingly did that then it’s a different story.”
The event featured a number of high-profile cricketers, including former West Indies players Ricardo Powell and Mervyn Dillon and Canada captain Jimmy Hansra.
However, as of right now, there has been no outrage directed towards Ashraful for participating in the tournament. In fact, Ashraful’s face was printed on many of the event’s posters.
“There are some technical things with Mohammad Ashraful,” LA T20 organiser Mehul Dave said. “He’s not a banned player, just temporarily suspended. That is what I was told by the team that he represented. We acknowledged that with everyone else and everyone was okay with him participating so that’s why he played. There’s a different level of suspension. Danish Kaneria has a life ban from the ECB and he’s not allowed to play any kind of ICC event and that is not the case I believe with Ashraful.”
Pegasus captain Nazim Shirazi, who is also a former Bangladesh opening batsman, revealed that he invited Ashraful to play in the tournament.
“I asked him about his situation,” Shirazi said. “He said, ‘Yeah, the investigation is going on but until the investigation is completed I won’t be playing any games in Bangladesh.’ I said, ‘We have a tournament coming up if you’d like to come and play. It’s a private tournament.’ He asked me if we are associated with the ICC. I said no. So then he said, ‘Okay. I’ll come over.’
“He’s playing amateur cricket in a public park, private games. We’re not associated with the ICC. We don’t have any affiliation with USACA. Stopping him while he’s under investigation to play in a public park with amateurs, I don’t think that would be the right thing on our part. But if the investigation is completed, he’s found guilty, then obviously we have to honour that.”