"I was not getting runs and it was very frustrating for me. Whenever looked at my statistics I wondered if I'm that bad. I rang my mother last night and was seeking some solace. But I laughed a lot when she said you are very small compared to the people you are playing against. So, it's not possible for you to do well."
Well, he may be short, but his game's pretty big when he gets going. Ashraful scored a fine hundred to help Bangladesh beat the meanest, biggest, baddest collection of marauders in international cricket. If you've followed his career, and watched him play, you'll know how frustrating it is to watch this 20-year-old - bursting with talent - throw it away again and again. Late last year, he played one of the finest innings you will ever see, and I mean finest - the kind of innings that makes you giggle in nervousness years later. I was bulletining that game, luckily, and walked on air for a few days after. But then he just tapered away, losing it more in the mind after gorgeous strokeplay, much like VVS Laxman has done for much of his career. It's unlikely that he'll play this way for a while, considering the pattern of his career. But keep watching, because when he does, and there's no doubt he will, it'll be unforgettable.
Here the bulletin of that Test innings.
Update: And here's my end-of-year write-up on it, in our selection of the best and worst of the year. I'm the third writer from the top. Thank you, Srivaths.