Shakib Al Hasan received words of sympathy from former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who was banned for five years (two years suspended) for a match-fixing scandal during the Bangladesh Premier League in 2013. The International Cricket Council handed Shakib Al Hasan a two-year-ban (one year suspended) on Tuesday after he admitted to its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of not reporting corrupt approaches by an alleged bookie Deepak Aggarwal on three occasions. Explaining how Shakib Al Hasan's case is different from his own, Mohammad Ashraful said the next 12 months will be the most difficult phase in the all-rounder's life.
"Our cases are different; he (Shakib) didn't inform the fixing approaches to authorities, while I was fully involved in match-fixing," Ashraful told ESPNCricinfo.
"But this is going to be a shock to the system. We love playing cricket. What Shakib is going through is hard to explain in words. I think there shouldn't be too much news about him. Dealing with so much news was hard (for me)," he added.
Amid criticism from former cricketers like England's Michael Vaughan and Ramiz Raja of Pakistan, Shakib has received support from Bangladesh Cricket Board and some of his teammates.
Ashraful, who was 30-year-old when he was banned, said he didn't get as much support from the BCB as 32-year-old Shakib will get.
"I always wondered whether I would be able to play again, mainly because of my age. The cricket board is helping Shakib. I got support but it wasn't what Shakib will get."
Hoping of a comeback by Shakib after the end of his ban, Ashraful added: "Also we must remember that players like Mashrafe Mortaza, who was often injured, and Shakib have always made extraordinary comebacks.
"I had the belief that no Bangladeshi cricketer would get into this kind of trouble after me. We have very different cases, but still the punishment is to stay away from cricket," he said.
Shakib is ranked number one in the One-day International (ODI) rankings for all-rounders but set to miss next year's Indian Premier League (IPL) and T20 World Cup in Australia.
"I felt bad. Shakib is the No. 1 allrounder in the world. He is our best player. He plays franchise leagues. When I say Shakib made his mistake, I think he didn't take it [reporting approaches] too seriously. What also happens now is that everyone will be alert with these approaches. What to do when there's an approach. Nobody should make this mistake. We could never imagine that Shakib would make this mistake," Ashraful said.
The ICC has made the WhatsApp chat between Shakib and alleged bookie Deepak Aggarwal public on its official website.