Ashraful is deluded
Despite the fact that the Tigers started the third day of the first Test on top against the formidable South Africa, the turnout was surprisingly low - - sparsely a couple of thousand turned up to watch the start of the day.
Surprising because it was expected that people would turn up in large numbers at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium as their beloved team were endowed with some aspiration after the second day's play following Shahadat Hossain's six-wicket burst and Zunaed Siddiqui's patient half-century.
But perhaps they had sensed beforehand what was going to happen in the first session, as they are relatively experienced at having their raised hopes dashed.
Or maybe there was some other reason behind the lack of enthusiasm.
However, if anyone still wants to go the venue on the fourth day then he/she can take all the inspiration required from the words of home skipper Mohammad Ashraful who lacks no enthusiasm even though the Proteas need only another 27 runs for victory with six wickets in hand.
Everybody at the press conference was taken aback when the Tigers captain was quite straight-forward in his assessment that they still have a chance of winning the game.
"The game is not over and still anything can happen in the game. One hattrick can change the whole scenario and as you know, nothing is impossible in cricket," said the ace batsman at a press conference yesterday.
Without any doubt the Tigers showed a much improved performance against the South Africans in comparison with their previous four encounters as they at least avoided the innings defeat for the first time and not only tried to get a result but also pushed the Proteas hard.
So it can be acceptable if Ashraful finds improvement in the match even as they are on the verge of another Test defeat.
But his atrocious assessment that they still have a chance of winning from this situation simply raised questions about his maturity as a Test captain.
It would have even been okay if he had said that only a miracle could turn the game in his favour.
But even as the Proteas stand on the brink of wrapping up a comfortable win, Ashraful still feels he has let nothing slip.
The little man is often spoken highly of for his cricketing intelligence but in the last session of the third day he fell well short of this reputation. It was widely expected that the field setting would be attacking bordering on aggressive when South Africa suddenly lost a couple of wickets but Ashraful astoundingly had spread his fielders to allow the batsmen to milk easy singles.
But Ashraful believes that one should get the rub of the green along with his skill to become successful in cricket.
"Mashrafe could have taken at least two or three wickets the way he bowled in the last hour but it didn't happen. I think luck is a big factor," he said.
Ashraful admitted that it could have been a different ball game if they could have manage 250-plus score but he was not ready to blame his batters.
"You saw our two overnight batsmen tried their best to occupy the crease and they survived for 50 minutes. I must say both Zunaed and Aftab got out by good deliveries. But still I believe that the wicket is good for batting," explained Ashraful.
"There are also other reasons behind our failure in such a crucial juncture as we took extra pressure in that kind of situation. I think we can only overcome it if we are able to play under pressure regularly," he said.