Salim dubs Ash a man-of-street

Dhaka Gladiators owner Salim Chowdhury labelled suspended national captain Mohammad Ashraful as a man-of-street and insisted that one cannot say him
guilty based on the statement of the cricketer.
‘Listen, if a man-of-street claims that I am convicted and I am criminal, that doesn’t make any sense. Concrete proof is needed otherwise no one can put blame on me,’ Salim told reporters at his office on Thursday in his first public statement since he was linked with match-fixing scandal.
‘I don’t know what Ashraful told to the ACSU. Ashraful himself admitted that he was involved in match-fixing since 2004. As I don’t know and not sure what he told, I can’t tell anything regarding this.  If Ashraful had given up the match, we can’t tell that,’ he said.
Salim’s name came in the media widely for alluring Ashraful to lose the Gladiators’ matches against Chittagong Kings and Barisal Burners in the Bangladesh Premier League.
It was alleged that Salim had picked Ashraful in his side after he only agreed to listen to such request, which he had insisted will help the side pay the players. Salim allegedly paid Ashraful a cheque for Tk 10 lakh which, however, had bounced back.
Salim denied his involvement in the entire issue and rather shifted the blame on Ashraful, who he said was a suspect to them from the very beginning of the tournament. He claimed that Ashraful himself insisted to become captain so that he can satisfy the bookies.
‘We suspected Ashraful to fix matches against Chittagong Kings and Barisal Burners. We also had doubt over Tilkaratne Dilshan and reported immediately to the ACSU man on the field.
‘But he said not to shout over the issue otherwise the media could make the issue bigger,’ said Salim.
‘All of the Dhaka players knew that Ashraful fixed the matches and the foreign players threatened not to play if Ashraful is in the team. I became angry when I saw he was killing the game but the ACSU men cooled me.
‘The same thing was scripted in the match against Barisal Burners. I rebuked Ashraful in front of Mashrafee and the team manager. Players knew the incident. I decided not to play him in the next match but we had to drop the idea because the media could sense something wrong.
‘However, we made him ineffective by playing him at number eight in the batting order. We made him captain against Barisal as he requested us and all the players to give him the chance to lead the side as he wants to prove himself,’ said Salim.
The Gladiators owners sensed a conspiracy against the BPL and said the ACSU investigation could be a part of it.
‘I talked to the ACSU at the ICC headquarters in Dubai,’ he said. ‘They told me “listen Ashraful has confessed all and sought apologies to the nation. If you have something to say, you may tell. We may rethink about you if you admit all. Otherwise BPL could be over”.
‘I answered what they asked but simultaneously I also challenged them when they said the BPL could be over. I questioned them why the BPL will be over? Why you people have the headache over the BPL? You have nothing to do with the BPL. Who are you to stop the BPL? Their quizzing style was enough to suspect them,’ he said.
‘Everything seems mysterious to me. When the IPL issue rocked the cricket world, it came to the surface. I suspect may be this is part of a conspiracy to suppress the IPL scandal,’ he said.

-With New Age input

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