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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Bangladesh's teenage star
BBC Sport Online's Roshan Abeysinghe profiles Test cricket's youngest century-maker Mohammad Ashraful.

Mohammad Ashraful was hardly known outside his home suburb in Dhaka before last weekend.

The shy 17-year-old had, however, done enough to be included in the Bangladesh Test side and his dramatic entry into Test cricket soon made him a household name.

On Saturday he became the youngest Test cricketer to ever score a century when he made 114 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Playing for Dhaka Metropolis in the domestic competition, he first came to prominence when he represented his country in the Under-17 ICC Asia cup in Karachi.

His performances in that tournament earned him the best batsman award.

Muttiah Muralitharan
Ashraful thwarted the best efforts of Muralitharan
The story goes when touring Sri Lanka last year in the youth World Cup was laughed at by some of the local scorers after he told them he did not know what he would do if he failed to make the grade as a cricketer.

But Ashraful was made of stern stuff and the insults only him more determined.

The youngest of three children, cricket took precedence over studies.

Trevor Chappell the Bangladesh coach was fulsome in his praise of the youngster: "His determination, commitment and attention to detail would put a mature and an established person to shame.

"The manner he concentrates on his batting made me believe that the lad is destined to have a long cricketing journey."

His international call-up came in April when he was selected to play against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in a one-day match.

He only made nine, but he had achieved his dream of playing for his country.


I do not worry about names. And I didn't want to know who I was up against
Mohammad Ashraful
His next goal would be playing in a Test match.

But few could have imgained the impact he would have in his first Test.

His century on debut was the stuff dreams are made of, but there was some initial confusion over his exact age.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board said he was born on 8 September 1984, but he admitted his true birth date was 7 July 1984.

It made him the youngest player to score a Test hundred, aged just just 17 years and 63 days beating Pakistan's Mushtaq Mohammad by 19 days.

I saw every run of Ashraful's inning and while the pitch offered little assistance to the seamers, the threat of Muttiah Muralitharan loomed large.

His sharply-spinning off-breaks had the Bangladesh batsmen in all sorts of trouble.

Chaminda Vaas
Ashraful came down the wicket to Vaas
Against such a quality bowler, his innings was priceless.

The way in which he treated Chaminda Vaas and even Muralitharan by advancing down the track and hitting them straight for boundaries would have made an experienced campaigner proud.

He took to his task with a minimum of fuss and after the match said he was unfazed by the quality of his opponents.

"I do not worry about names. And I didn't want to know who I was up against," he told reporters.

His innings saved Bangladesh from embarrasment after their dismissal for 90 in the first innings.

When he walked to the crease Bangladesh were in danger of collapsing again, but he saved the day for his team.

He displayed a maturity not usually associated with one so young and judging by his success he will be scoring runs for a long time to come.


Sports Talk SPORTS TALK
Bangladesh are heading for another crushing Test defeat. Are they worthy of Test status? Testing time
Are Bangladesh worthy of Test status?
Pakistan v Bangladesh

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See also:

10 Sep 01 |  Cricket
Chappell praise for Ashraful
08 Sep 01 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka clinch victory
05 Sep 01 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka respect Tigers
05 Sep 01 |  Cricket
Bangladesh wants cricket help
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