The former national captain, who at one point was touted as the 'next big thing', was handed an eight-year ban for his involvement in match and spot-fixing in the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League. His ban was reduced to five years on appeal and Ashraful is now hopeful of getting a chance to represent his country again.
"Playing in the BPL does matter a lot because it's a big platform [to prove yourself],'' Ashraful told reporters on Monday. "If you get a chance to play there and perform as well, it becomes easier to get into the national team.
Ashraful became the youngest Test centurion in 2001 when at the age of 17 he cracked a magnificent 114 against Sri Lanka in Colombo. He captained the national side between 2007 and 2009, turning out for them in 61 Tests, 177 One-Day Internationals and 23 Twenty20 Internationals.
His ban from playing domestic cricket in Bangladesh was lifted in 2016 and he has since played in the National Cricket League (NCL) and Dhaka Premier League (DPL). The 34-year-old made quite a return to List-A cricket scoring five centuries since his comeback but his first-class record has left a lot to be desired. In 13 outings Ashraful has managed just one century at 21.85, a record he is keen to improve in the upcoming season.
"NCL will be starting soon. I want to play well in domestic cricket. That would be enough I guess," Ashraful said. "If I had any matches to play now, I would have a chance to perform and earn a spot in the team. But there are no [domestic] games right now.
"I want do something special when the [domestic] season starts. I don't want to take any shortcut to return to the team. I want to return to the team after performing [well] for enough time. If I return to the team after performing well, I can play there for a long time."
First Published: August 21, 2018, 2:20 PM IST