WELLINGTON, 6 JUNE: Bangladesh cricket coach Jamie Siddons says ex-captain Mohammad Ashraful should not be judged too harshly for his involvement in match-fixing because he was likely ensnared by the “powerful beast of underworld gambling” at an early age. Siddons, who now coaches New Zealand’s Wellington province, told the Dominion-Post newspaper he had alerted the Bangladesh Cricket Board and International Cricket Council to the threat of spot-fixing during his four-year term as Bangladesh coach from 2007 to 2011.
Ashraful admitted to match- and spot-fixing in the Bangladesh Premier League after being suspended by the BCB on Tuesday. He is being investigated by the ICC.
The Australian-born Siddons said he was not surprised to hear of Ashraful’s involvement, saying “it’s disappointing but I don’t think it’s surprising. It’s a powerful beast, the underworld gambling.”
Siddons said he had “made my thoughts known a while ago to the (Bangladesh) cricket board and the ICC,” warning of the threat of spot-fixing.
He said young players were often vulnerable to financial temptation and Ashraful was probably sought out by the match-fixers while still in his teens. “People like Ashraful, he’s got 15 people living in his house, he feeds probably five families and on a cricketer’s wage,” Siddons said. “Over there, it’s near- impossible so you can almost understand. It’s a different world than we live in.
It’s a tough world for him.” Siddons said he felt disappointed for his former charge.
“He’s a great young kid … He probably got roped in as a 15-year-old, when he first started, by some other people. I feel a bit sorry for him but I don’t condone it at all.”
In another development, the the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations today unveiled a new leadership structure after the resignation of its long-serving chief executive officer Tim May by making Paul Marsh the executive chairman of the body.
FICA president Jimmy Adams said Marsh had been elected executive chairman by the chief executives of the player associations, with Ian Smith coming in as chief operating officer. ap