'No. 4 position vital'
Mohammad Ashraful was an enigma for all the previous selection committees and he has remained the same for the Akram Khan-led new selection panel. It will not be an easy task for the newly-appointed committee to take decisions on Ashraful, who was dropped for the three-match home series against Australia in April, when they sit on to pick up the final squad for the Zimbabwe trip in July-August.
Ashraful frustrated his faithfuls many times in his ten-year career and the age-old question has remained: why such a talented batsman like Ashraful has failed to perform consistently?
Is there any new formula or strategy coming from the new selection panel?
"We just started our work. Definitely the selection for the No 4 position would be a vital issue. I think it's too early to say anything about team selection because we are yet to discuss anything about that," responded chief selector Akram Khan when asked whether they have any special plan with the former skipper who has been in and out of the national team for last 7-8 months.
"Ashraful is a vital player and there has been hardly any doubt about his caliber but performance is the key for any player to establish his place in the team. I think No 4 is a very vital position for any team and we will definitely try to establish a player in this position," he added.
What Akram however believed was that it is vital for any player to get the support from the concerned authorities and everybody should be given the confidence when a player is struggling with his form.
Many however believed that the 26-year-old right-hander got enough opportunity to prove his class but the batsman himself believed that he has still enough cricket to prove the critics wrong.
"The major problem for the last 7-8 months was that I was irregular in the team. I was dropped after a bad performance in one match which dented my confidence (against Zimbabwe). Actually I need support right at the moment to establish my position in the national team," said Ashraful.
"I'm not frustrated at all despite the fact that I could not perform as per expectations. I still think I have enough time to prove my worth and still I can prolong my career. I'm enjoying cricket very much.
"I think there is only one solution and that is to play my own game. I want to forget about what happened in the past and I am also not ready to blame anybody," he said, adding that he was excited with the pre-season fitness camp.
Ashraful also said that he was not worried with his form as he had some good performance in the domestic competitions as well as with the A team which he led in the South Africa trip.
"My performance in the Premier League and National Cricket League
was not bad. I also scored some runs during the South Africa trip with the A team.
"I got back my confidence after hitting the hundred in South Africa. Now I have to score some runs for the national team if I get a call for the Zimbabwe tour," said a confident Ashraful.