Considered by many to be Bangladesh's first superstar in cricket, Mohammad Ashraful has revealed recently that he contemplated suicide when news broke of his match-fixing scandal.
"I wanted to commit suicide when the news was broken and it occurred few more times," Ashraful said in a live video interview.
"I shared these thoughts with my brother-in-law [Mojibul Alam] and he did the right thing by ridiculing me. He told me that even a great player like Azharuddin has gone through such hardships. The public and the fans will be upset, but I would have to soldier through it.'' Ashraful said recalling his brother-in-law's support.
"Then the CEO of BCB, (Khaled Mahmud) Sujon Bhai came to my house to console me. He said that time will change me.'' said a teary-eyed Ashraful, grateful to his friends and relatives during a time of great distress. "My close friend Ashiq, Arif, Tauhid, Jitu, Joy Mama used to stay with me till 10-11 pm. I couldn't sleep at that time and that was the toughest time. When I would wake up, I would find my friend beside me again.
Ashraful, who played 61 Tests and 177 ODIs for Bangladesh said that he was guilty of what he did and so decided to tell the truth to the anti-corruption unit. Ashraful said he could have saved himself by lying but his conscience didn't allow it.
"I always used to think how can I survive in such a situation, how do I show my face in public, what should I tell my family, what will happen to them, how will I cover up the social stigma which will be inflicted upon me and my family," said Ashraful, reliving one of the darkest phases of his life. "When I first met ACSU on that day, I decided that I wouldn't lie. I had made up my mind to tell them everything knowing the consequences."
''We see many news where players after retire were found to be involved in these kinds of cases. If I haven't agreed then nothing would have happened,'' he said, insisting that it was his voluntary choice to come clean, and that he could have gotten away with it if he had played it smarter. However, the passive mental harassment that came from society was more than enough for Ashraful to handle."
"I knew people were leering at me in a different way, and a lot of my close friends had started to distance themselves from me. That much was evident," he added.
Mohammad Ashraful also talked about how he wasn't given chance despite performing well in 2018 Dhaka Premier League after his 5-year ban ended. Ashraful believes he has repented for what he did and now forgiving him is up to the selectors and people.
"I know I need to perform extraordinarily if I want to make a return. In 2018 I scored five centuries in Dhaka Premier League - a record which still stands. So, I proved myself and played well but my effort was hardly recognized," he said.
"After asking for forgiveness there is nothing to do for me. I got the punishment, asked for forgiveness and now if they don't forgive me then I don't have anything to do."
"I realize that they, the selectors, may never really forgive me for what I have done," Ashraful concluded.